The 2017 Toba Coffee Festival, scheduled to take place at Sipinsur Park in Samosir, North Sumatra, on Dec. 2-3, will introduce the diversity of Indonesian coffee, while also seeking to attract more foreign tourists. (Reuters Photo/Philippe Wojazer)

Indonesia Conducts 'Coffee Diplomacy' in Malaysia


AUGUST 06, 2017

Jakarta. The Ministry of Tourism featured the country's specialty coffee at the Indonesia-Sarawak Coffee Festival in Kuching, Malaysia, on July 28-30.

I Gde Pitana, deputy for foreign tourism development at the ministry, said the event was a diplomatic effort to promote Indonesian culture, tradition and tourism.

"Indonesia's potential, with various types of coffee as one of the favorite beverages of all people, is an extraordinary benefit for our nation," Pitana said in a statement on Tuesday (01/08).

Rizki Handayani, the ministry's assistant deputy for Southeast Asia market development, added that coffee has become a lifestyle choice for the global community, including Indonesia. "Indonesian coffee has gone global now," Rizki said.

She added that it is time for the country to conduct "coffee diplomacy" to establish a unique brand.

The Indonesia-Sarawak Coffee Festival is expected to become a regular event for promoting Indonesian coffee, as the two countries share a similar coffee-drinking culture.

Data from the Ministry of Agriculture shows that Malaysia imported 106,555 tons of Indonesian coffee in 2015.

Jahar Gultom, the Indonesian consul general in Kuching, opened the event attended by among others, coffee producers, farmers, suppliers and distributors from Medan (North Sumatra), Bandung (West Java), Pontianak (West Kalimantan), and Lampung.

"I hope this event will promote and introduce the culture of coffee drinking to the people of Sarawak," Jahar said. He also expressed hope that the event will create additional value and strengthen the partnership between Indonesia and Malaysia.

The festival, themed "A Blend of Coffee, Culture, and Friendship," presented Indonesian coffee beans from the country's best producers to visitors who could taste and purchase their favorite coffee at special prices.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said Indonesia is heading towards the world's favorite culinary destination, through efforts such as the coffee festival.

The country's culinary sector, which grows at 4.5 percent annually, has contributed Rp 208.6 trillion ($15.6 billion) to the national economy last year. It also created 3.7 million jobs.