Jakarta. Buyung Poetra Sembada, a listed rice producer behind the Topi Koki brand, has been building a new rice processing plant in South Sumatra. The plant would boost the company's production capacity by 27 percent to 95 tons of rice per hour by the end of next year as the company eyes to meet the demand of branded rice from the domestic market and abroad.
Currently, Buyung Poetra operated two factories in Subang, West Java, and Jakarta. Subang processing plant was able to process 50 tons of rice per hour while the one in Jakarta had a capacity of 5 tons per hour.
"We are building a new factory in South Sumatra, which will add a production capacity of 20 tons per hour," Dion Surijata, the head of investor relations at Buyung Poetra, told the Jakarta Globe's sister publication Investor Daily, on Tuesday.
Dion said the South Sumatra plant would start operation by the end of this year. The company planned to install an additional 20 tons per hour capacity at the plant next year, he said.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a slight delay to the company's South Sumatra plan. "Some of the machines have arrived and should have been installed in March or April. But, the technician from Vietnam could not go to Indonesia due to Covid-19, so we postponed it," Dion said.
Still, the company was confident to continue the construction soon. "We will run again in the next one or two months," he said.
Indonesia is the third-largest largest rice market in the world after China and India, consuming about 38 million tons annually. Buyung Poetra is among a few of listed companies that bet on a shift among Indonesian growing middle-class consumers toward higher quality rice.
"People who previously bought rice in bulk will switch to branded rice as the consumption patterns move toward high-quality rice," Dion said.
"We see the company's prospects are still good. Our challenge remains about how to strengthen the Topi Koki branding," Dion said, referring to the company's main brand.
Budiman Susilo, an independent director at Buyung Poetra said the company reached a milestone by shipping 22 tons, or a container of rice to Singapore in March, marking its first export sales. The company would have also exported to Saudi Arabia, but the pandemic delayed the plan.
Budiman said Buyung Poetra was seeing a growing interest in Pandan Wangi rice, a native Indonesian rice variety, due to its texture and shape.
"Pandan Wangi has a unique texture and a rather round [shape], which different from rice from Thailand or Vietnam," Budiman said.