Indonesia actively exporting pineapples to China

About 50 percent of PT Great Giant Pineapple's production is exported to more than 60 countries and regions.


Workers pack pineapple products at the factory department of PT. Great Giant Pineapple, a large private-label manufacturer of canned pineapples, in Terbanggi Besar of Lampung Province, Indonesia, July 5, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

July 18, 2023

BEIJING — In central Lampung province in the southern part of Indonesia’s Sumatra island, gloved workers are picking ripe pineapples and throwing them onto a conveyor belt, with a truck waiting at the other end to take the fruit to the canning factory.

With sufficient tropical sunshine and high temperatures throughout the year, about 200,000 sweet pineapples are harvested every day at the plantation of PT Great Giant Pineapple (GGP), a large private-label manufacturer of canned pineapples.

“We divided the plantation, covering over 30,000 hectares of land, into several zones, and (we) harvest all the pineapples in each zone at the same time,” said Murdi Suprayitno, a production planning worker of plantation group one.

About 50 percent of GGP’s pineapple production is exported to more than 60 countries and regions. Besides canned pineapple, it also produces fresh pineapple, jam, cubes in cups, juice concentrate, and canned fruit cocktails.

“Right after Indonesian fresh pineapples gained official access to the Chinese market, we started to plant more pineapple trees to boost our production capability,” said Welly Soegiono, GGP’s director of corporate affairs.

In August 2022, the General Administration of Customs of China issued a new protocol, which approved the export of Indonesian fresh pineapples to China if they meet certain requirements.

“This is what we have been hoping for. Since China’s domestic production of pineapples is very limited, there is huge potential for imported pineapples,” said Soegiono.

GGP started to export fresh pineapples to China immediately after the approval. Until now, over 42 containers carrying over 580 metric tons of pineapples have been shipped by cold chain from Lampung to southern China’s seaports.

It takes about eight to 10 days to send the pineapples to China, with stops in other countries in between. The temperature needs to be kept under 10 C to protect the fresh fruit from rotting.

After unloading, the containers will be filled with fruits like apples, oranges and pears, which grow in abundance in China but not so in Indonesia, and travel back.

The fruit trade between China and Indonesia has become more and more vigorous in recent years.

“Under the scheme of the RCEP as well as the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, the company is able to export pineapple products to China duty-free. With fast customs clearance, Indonesian pineapples thus reach customers fast, with good prices,” said Cindyanto Kristian, CEO of fresh fruit and GTM (Go to Market) of PT Sewu Segar Nusantara, a company in charge of the distribution and marketing of fresh fruits in collaboration with GGP.

“Therefore, all these have helped our products gain more competitiveness,” he added.

Market research has shown that Chinese consumers are willing to pay more for quality fruits, and they prefer eating fresh over canned ones, Kristian said.

“This drove us to raise local production standards,” he said. “Customers can tell the quality of a pineapple right after cutting it open, so we must make sure that pineapples sent to them are fresh with high quality.”

Now Kristian needs to fly often between China and Indonesia. He is not only pushing for market expansion from southern China to the north and finding reliable distributors, but also using various international exhibitions held in China to promote Indonesian pineapples.

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