Speaking at a recent business forum at Europe’s largest chocolate festival, Eurochocolate, in Perugia, Italy, West Sumatra Governor Irwan Prayitno promoted chocolate as a leading local commodity.
Also presented were areas of chocolate cultivation in West Sumatra that produce high-quality chocolate with a production capacity of more than 58,594 tons according to data published in 2017, as reported by Kompas.com.
In his speech, Irwan also raised concerns about inequality in the world chocolate industry.
“Through this Eurochocolate forum, consumers are reminded that the world chocolate industry has not provided prosperity to farmers,” Irwan said in a press release from the Indonesian Embassy (KBRI) in Rome.
Eurochocolate organizing committee chair Daniela de Paolis expressed hope that the organizing of the festival could bring together quality chocolate producers, such as those from West Sumatra, with foreign importers and distributors in Italy.
At Eurochocolate in 2014, Indonesia also participated in promoting cocoa farming in Southeast Sulawesi.
On the sidelines of his visit to Italy, Irwan also held a meeting with a number of Italian businessmen at the head office of the Italian Industrial Confederation, also known as Confindustria, in Rome, on Oct. 23.
On this occasion, Alessandro Durante from the Italian Mechanical Equipment Federation invited cooperation on agricultural mechanization to increase farmer productivity.
Additionally, Durante also welcomed the invitation from Payakumbuh Mayor Riza Pahlevi to establish cooperation in the field of food product packaging, such as for rendang (beef simmered in thick coconut milk and rich spices), to enable it to be marketed in Italy and Europe.
Indonesian Ambassador to Italy Esti Andayani said that the Indonesian Embassy in Rome was always ready to facilitate the promotion of export products and attract foreign investment to the West Sumatra province.
She said the regional government and entrepreneurs in West Sumatra should actively follow up on the results of the governor’s visit, as there was a large demand for agricultural commodities, especially chocolate, palm oil, coffee and essential oils.
“Businessmen in the regions need to collaborate with partners in Italy, especially for packaging food products such as rendang, making it easier to forge markets in Europe,” Esti said.