Indonesia Targets the MENA Market for Canned Fish Products


The Indonesian government plans to increase exports of halal fishery products to Middle Eastern and North African countries (MENA). This is because the area has high consumption potential due to the large population of young people.

Marketing Director of the Directorate General of Maritime and Fishery Product Competitiveness Affirmation at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) Machmud said that efforts to boost Indonesia’s fishery product exports to MENA would be implemented during next year’s hajj season.

“We want to be fast because MENA is very promising. Their population growth is high and the share of young people is very large,” he said. The halal-labeled fishery products to be exported are mainly frozen catfish and canned tuna.

Indonesia has actually exported tuna in cans to MENA. However, the value of Indonesia’s exports to the Middle East is still far behind Thailand which controls 71% of the MENA import market for TCS products (tuna, cob, skipjack). The import value of Middle Eastern canned TCS in 2017 reached US$ 596 million.

Meanwhile, Middle East catfish imports are currently dominated by Vietnam with a market share of 61% of the total MENA catfish imports value of US$ 79 million. Indonesia has never exported catfish to the Middle East.

To smooth this plan, together with a number of fisheries companies from Indonesia, KKP participated in two events or exhibitions held in October in Dubai and November in Jeddah. “We are promoting the catfish there,” he said.

In addition to participating in a number of exhibitions, KKP will also approach and consult with importers at MENA regarding the regulation of imported halal fishery products to the country, as well as other facilities such as trading houses, like the one conducted by Thailand, which facilitate transactions between buyers and exporters.

KKP is also resolving the issue of the price of Indonesian fish products which are slightly more expensive. This uncompetitive price makes Indonesian fish products unable to compete with similar products from Thailand and Vietnam. For this reason, KPP will verify prices to take policy steps.

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