The demand for healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables has increased since quarantine and social distancing. While other sectors shrank, agriculture managed to record growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, people are getting more concerned about their health, from hygiene until food safety, that’s why they tend to cook more at home for their family.
The way of buying foods is also shifted from on-site grocery shopping to online buying. A study found, over one third of the online population globally say they’ve purchased a grocery item online in the past month.
According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), Indonesia as one of the biggest exporter of the agricultural product has reached US$410 million in September or up 16.22% from the same month last year. This is still expected to keep increasing due to unprecedented change and disruption.
The majority of exported products are coffee, vegetables, betel nuts, coconuts, fruits (guavas, mangos, mangosteens), clove and pepper. These agricultural products exported to Malaysia, Singapore, China, Japan, Hong Kong and United States.
With the abundant supply and high demand, there’s a challenge that farmers have to face in the middle of the pandemic. Last May, farmers in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, were viral for giving away their farming products on the road, even some were caught dumping them. They did that in the midst of social restriction (PSBB) policy when the markets are closed and they don’t have another platform to sell harvest products to the customers.
For export, Indonesian agricultural products have several issues related to international standards, like organic certification, sustainability, traceability, and transparency.
Lately, Indonesia’s government is working to secure food supplies from farmers to consumers. Kadin partnered with public-private cooperation platforms for a closed-loop system partnership. As stated by the chairman of agribusiness, food and forestry of Kadin to Jakarta Post, the partnership covers education for farmers until purchase guarantee.