Thu, 10 Mar 2011

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The local rattan industry could benefit from Europe’s increasing interest in the product. “This is the revival of rattan in the European market,” said agro industry director general Benny Wachyudi in Jakarta yesterday, following a meeting with a German expert who is here to study Indonesia’s natural rattan to be developed as raw materials. The two experts are collaborating with the Banding Institute of Technology and the Pelita Harapan University, Jakarta, to look at the design potential of natural rattan.

The market potential from the development, according to Benny, cannot be confirmed yet. However, he said, it was a positive sign for the local industry. Benny said the government would focus on managing the raw material supply which remains an impediment.

Aida Rattan president director, Kurt Schuetz, said that the market for natural rattan products in Europe was upset due to the domination of synthetic rattan products. “Europe doesn’t know natural rattan. They only know its synthetic version,” he said, adding that natural rattan was becomingly increasingly fashionable in Europe.

Kurt is a producer of natural rattan products from Germany who has moved his production to Cirebon, West Java. He said the reason for the move was because natural rattan was hard to get in Europe. Kurt said he believed the European market was open to Indonesian products.

Abdul Sobur, the Indonesia Rattan Furniture and Handicraft Association secretary general, added that the main problem was difficulties in getting raw materials. “Class A (best) raw material is non-existent. There are only B and C class,” he said. Raw material prices have also have also gone up by 20 30 percent.

The absence of high quality raw materials from the market is due to the high number of illegal exports of natural rattan. Although the government continues to urge businessmen to organize an international exhibition, in reality, the availability of raw materials in the country is not secure.

Businessmen often receive many orders but do not have the raw material to cover them. “This becomes a problem,” said Sobur. The government’s policies were judged counter-productive because they allow rattan exports. If this continues, an increase in number of orders will not help improve the industry.