The provincial government of Bali is lobbying the Indonesian central government to loosen restrictions on the importation of fruit in anticipation of soaring prices over the Galungan-Kuningan holiday cycle when gifts of fruit and religious offerings incorporating their use are at a peak.
According to Bisnis Bali, tens of containers of imported fruit are being held by customs officials at ports across Indonesia. Meanwhile, suppliers of fruit are frustrated, unable to meet the higher demand for these items at malls, supermarkets and local markets.
Almost all fruit importers in Bali’s capital of Denpasar complain that have insufficient stocks to fill orders over the Kuningan holiday. Suardana, the owner of Apple Mart - a fruit mini-mart in Bali said on March 31, 2013, “The government must be proactive in lobbying the central government to open the tap so imported fruit in anticipation of the high demand over the holidays.”
Because of limited supplies, the cost of fruit produce has doubled in local markets. The cost of imported apple in local markets is reported to be more than Rp. 70,000 per kilogram (US$7) while manalagi apples from Malang in East Java now cost around Rp. 23,000 per kilogram (US$2.30). Other fruit products are experiencing similar price hikes.
There are also complaints that much of the local fruit being sold in Bali markets is of sub-standard quality.
Some 500 containers of imported fruit is reportedly being held at Tanjung Perak, the seaport of Surabaya.
Suardana added: “If the government of Bali is prepared to lobby, the supplies of fruit during the coming holidays can be sufficient and prices will not spiral out of control. Pity the customers who are being forced to buy local fruit of poor quality at very high prices.”
Together with calls for a loosening of restrictions on the importation of fruit into Bali are simultaneous calls for the government to help farmers produce higher quality fruit for sale on the local marketplace.
In closing, Suardana said: “The presentation of local fruit is not yet as good as imported fruit. Fruit of superior quality and rotting fruit are mixed together in a single basket.”
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