Italian consumers can now enjoy fresh pineapples from Indonesia after the first container - containing 18 tons of Indonesian pineapples - arrived in the port city of Venice on 9 June 2017. The export of fresh pineapples is done by Great Giant Food in cooperation with Italian importer SAMA SpA (which plans to import up to 20 containers from Indonesia before the end of 2017). Previously, Italian consumers could only enjoy pineapple that was packed in a can.
This first fresh pineapple container shipment from Indonesia to Italy cost USD $10,000 and its arrival was witnessed Esti Andayani, the Indonesian Ambassador to Italy, along with SAMA SpA General Manager Giorgio Masiero. Also attending were the Agriculture Attaché and Trade Attaché of the Indonesian Embassy in Rome. The presence of these officials shows this first pineapple shipment between Indonesia and Italy is regarded an important occasion.
Ambassador Andayani said to be delighted that Indonesia's fresh fruit commodities are increasingly consumed by Italian consumers. This also forms a sign that Indonesia can compete with fresh fruit exporters from different countries. Andayani said "so far, many Indonesian fruits are exported to other countries in Europe. Now, however, the Indonesian pineapple has finally found its way to penetrate the Italian market. This is a positive development". Currently the biggest importers of Indonesian pineapples are the USA, the Netherlands, and Spain.
Italian importer SAMA SpA previously imported pineapples from the Caribbean and Africa, with a delivery time of approximately three weeks. In this respect Indonesia is slightly less competitive as it requires about four weeks to ship pineapple from Indonesia to Italy. However, this additional week will not impact negatively on the quality of the fruit.
According to the Indonesian Agriculture Attaché in Rome, Yusral Tahir, the pineapple (Ananas comosus L.) is one of the leading commodities in Indonesia as it is the third-most produced fruit in Indonesia (after the banana and mango). Almost everywhere across the Indonesian archipelago pineapple is produced, but the largest production centers are located in Lampung, Jambi, North Sumatra, East Java and West Java.
Indonesia's pineapple production reached 1.84 million tons with a productivity rate of 117.5 tons per hectare.
Tahir added that "the potential of pineapple as a key export product of Indonesia is actually quite big, but some problems related to food quality and safety standards undermine tapping the full potential of the fruit." However, in the case of Great Giant Food, its pineapple exports are regarded by SAMA SpA to meet the EU quality standards. Tahir actually believes processed pineapple (packed in can) from Indonesia have the greatest potential in Italy.
In the period 2018-2020, SAMA SpA plans to import pineapple from Indonesia to meet at least ten percent of the total fresh pineapple demand in Italy, which is estimated to have reached 150 thousand tons. But SAMA SpA will not only focus on the Italian market in this period. It will also import one thousand containers that are to be transported further to other European markets (including Germany).
In the future SAMA SpA also wants to import fresh bananas from Indonesia, considering Italian domestic demand for banana consumption is quite high, about five times the fresh pineapple market.