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Forbidden Fruit?

Foreign Imports are Overwhelming Bali Fruit Growers.

Bali News: Bali, Indonesia, Fruit, Import
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Kompas reports that there is a growing demand for imported fruit products in Bali, dwarfing the counterpoising balance of trade in fruits being exported from the island. For the period January-August 2010 the value if imported fruits to Bali reached Rp. 540 billion (US$58.6 million) a 300% increase over the same period in 2009. By comparison, only Rp. 2 billion (US$217,000) in Bali-grown fruits were exported during this period.

The chief of the Industry and Trade Department for the Province of Bali, Gde Darmaja, admitted the preeminence of imported fruits in Bali. He feels that the largest demand for these items is from Bali's hotel sector. "We have to admit that the appearance of imported fruits is more attractive. Yet, in terms of taste, local fruits are no less delicious," said Darmaja.

Despite efforts by his office to urge the use of local fruit products, Darmaja claims tourism operators claim the quality of local fruits do not meet international standards or the taste requirements of foreign tourists.

To address this, the Department of Industry and Trade is drafting a memorandum of understanding between the government and the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) as well as drafting legislation to promote the use of local fruits.

Adding to the problem is the growing preference aong the Balinese people for imported fruits forplacement in the ubiquitous religious offerings found across the island.

Perry Markus the secretary of the PHRI-Bali explained the preference for imported fruit, saying: "The main stumbling block in using local agricultural products has been tied to issues of consistent supply and quality. If the government wants to guarantee these areas, we will gladly receive the proposed memorandum of understanding."

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