TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Agriculture Minister Suswono said he would temporarily remove the import duty on cocoa beans to deal with the lack of the commodity in the country.
“So it will be temporary. As long as it is not disrupting the domestic production, we can tolerate this,” he said on Tuesday, April 29, 2014.
Suswono said that the government had earlier raise the export duty on cocoa beans in a bid to increase the volume of cocoa beans processed in the nation. He added this policy had successfully catapulted domestic cocoa industries, which ensued in rocketing domestic demand for cocoa beans.
“With the present capacity of the thriving cocoa processing industries, it turns out that the raw commodity is lacking, so we have to import it,” he said.
Based on available data, the nation presently sees 700-8000 tons in cocoa bean production with 700 tons installed capacity of cocoa-processing industries.
“Unfortunately, the domestic production cannot meet the domestic demand, the reason is because the quality [of the cocoa beans] has failed to meet the industries’ standards,” he said.
The minister added this was among the reasons he had agreed to allow cocoa bean imports and remove the import duty on it.
Suswono said his ministry was still canvassing the regulation. “The bottom line is, we have to review this regulation and avoid making hasty decisions,” he said.
AYU PRIMA SANDI