INDONESIA - Japan may consider lifting its import ban on Indonesian poultry and its related products this year, an Agriculture Ministry official has said.
Agriculture Ministry director general for livestock and animal health, Syukur Irwanto, said recently the Japanese government had informed his ministry it would send experts on 24 August to audit three Indonesian poultry companies that might export processed chicken products to Japan.
"It is a very good sign because it means Japan may be one step closer to a decision to lift its import ban on our poultry products," he told The Jakarta Post.
Mr Irwanto said the Japanese experts would check the companies’ safety procedures from their day-old chick breeding to the manufacturing of processed chicken products.
He said the three companies were PT Japfa Comfeed Indonesia, PT Charoen Pokphand Indonesia and PT Sierad Produce.
Charoen’s brand is known as Fiesta, Japfa’s as So Good and Sierad’s as Belfoods.
Indonesian Poultry Breeders Association (GAPPI) chairman Anton J. Supit previously said that the three companies had held back their plans to export some of their processed chicken products to Japan because of the ban.
"It is predicted that the potential value of exporting processed chicken products to Japan stands at around US$1 billion a year," Mr Supit said.
Indonesia had previously exported frozen chickens to Japan before the latter decided to introduce the ban on Indonesia’s poultry and related products in 2004, when avian influenza cases broke out in the country.
Indonesia, which is still included in the avian flu-affected zone, recorded 193 confirmed human cases of avian flu as of March this year, while Japan, which is listed as an avian flu-free zone, had zero, according to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Mr Irwanto said, however, that Japan had started considering relaxing its ban when his ministry negotiated with the Japanese government through the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta earlier this year.
He said that during the negotiations, his ministry had questioned the Japanese government’s double standard in imposing the import ban.
While Japan has yet to lift the import ban for Indonesian poultry products to date, the East Asian country lifted the same ban on Thai poultry products at end of last year.
Suparman Sastrodimedjo, one of the independent commissioners of Charoen Pokphand Indonesia, previously said that Charoen expected the Japanese government lift its import band soon, so that the firm could expand its market to Japan.
He said that Charoen expected to export as many processed chicken products as possible to meet the Japanese market’s demand, without specifying any target.
Japfa Comfeed Indonesia did not respond to the Post’s enquiries on the matter.
TheMeatSite News Desk
Top image via Shutterstock