The Indonesian Quarantine Agency has given 'Country of Recognition' status for South Africa's food safety control system, in a move that is expected to simplify what has to date been a cumbersome export permission process.
In a release, industry group Hortgro hailed the move saying it would increase the export potential of South Africa's deciduous fruit.
The list of products in the list includes apples, apricots, cherries, citrus fruits, grapes, grapefruit, lemons, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pears, peanuts, plums, pomelos and prunes.
The document was signed by Indonesian Minister of Agriculture Amran Sulaiman on April 11, and forwarded to Political Counsellor Willem Geerlings from the South African Embassy in Jakarta.
"This has been a long and complex process and the industry is heartened by this break-through," Hortgro executive director Anton Rabe said in a release.
"This establishes a new trading regime that will ease the import process and documentation requirements, and also opens up the port of Jakarta as entry point into Indonesia.
"We wish to thank all officials - especially at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) - both in South Africa and at the Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, for the successful conclusion of the country of recognition status that has been achieved."
Rabe highlighted the result came from a team effort and would "greatly assist with creating a more stable trading regime" to grow South Africa's Indonesia-bound exports.
Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa (CGA) CEO Justin Chadwick told www.freshfruitportal.com the decision was great news as his country's representatives had been addressing the Indonesian authorities' mutual recognition requirements for some time.
"The latest list includes citrus fruits – and also lemons, grapefruit and oranges. It does not include mandarins and we will have to get clarity if this sector is included in “citrus fruits"," Chadwick said.
"The other concern is the failure of the Indonesian government to issue permits for certain citrus types at certain times of the year in the past.
"This effectively closes some products out of the market – and as a result MCR is of no benefit when this occurs."
Indonesia's non-tariff barriers against food imports have drawn the ire of exporting nations for years now, prompting a call for action to the World Trade Organization (WTO) from the governments of the U.S. and New Zealand.