Indonesia to Host International Rattan Exhibition

The local rattan industry is gearing up to hold its first international exhibition next year as part of an effort to attract more international buyers and promote the use of natural rattan in the furniture industry according to a Business News report.

The International Furniture and Craft Fair Indonesia (IFFINA), which will be held from March 5 through 9 at the Jakarta International Expo complex at Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, will be organized by the Indonesia Furniture Industry and Handicraft Association (ASMINDO).

The association’s executive director, Sae Tanangga Karim, said that the expo, which would cover 10,000 square meters, was expected to be attended by around 600 exhibitors, with more than a hundred of them coming from abroad.

“Vietnam, one of the rising furniture exporters, has confirmed it will participate in the expo,” Sae said at the launch of the expo plan by Industry Minister Fahmi Idris, chairman of the National Craft Council, Mufidah Jusuf Kalla, and the representatives of other bodies.

“We expect the expo to attract potential buyers from 32 countries, including the European countries and the United States,” said Sae, adding that the association would also bring a road show to ten cities in Indonesia to introduce the expo and promote the use of natural rattan.

Indonesia, which has the capacity to produce between 250,000 and 400,000 tons of rattan per year, provides about 85 percent of the world’s supply of natural rattan, which is increasingly being replaced by artificial rattan.

ASMINDO chairman Ambar Tjahyono said more and more products, such as lounge and beach chairs, were being made of artificial rattan, which he said was not environmentally friendly and was more expensive than natural rattan.

“We have been actively campaigning for the use of natural rattan both at home and abroad using the slogan ‘the real rattan is Indonesia’,” he said.

“We hope this expo, along with the campaign, will increase our exports of furniture, including those of rattan, by 8 to 10 percent, from around US$1.8 billion last year to around $2 billion this year,” said Sae, adding that furniture exports amounted to $500 million as of the end of June.

In his speech, Minister Fahmi said that he hoped the export value of rattan furniture would reach $3 billion over the next three years, representing an increase of more than 30 percent over the 2006 figure.

To meet this target, he said the Industry Ministry would propose a ban on unprocessed and semi-processed rattan exports so as to increase exports of rattan furniture.