After Japan poultry deal, Indonesia sets sights on more Asian buyers
* Japan ended Indonesia imports about 10 yrs ago on bird-flu worry
* Restart could be seen as seal of approval for Indonesia chicken
* Indonesia wants to break into regional poultry markets
By Michael Taylor
JAKARTA, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Indonesian poultry suppliers are weeks away from making their first exports of processed chicken to Japan in a decade, an endorsement of quality that will boost the Southeast Asian nation's push into a regional market dominated by Thailand.
That is good news for global commodities giant Cargill Inc and Indonesian food group, PT Indofood Sukses Makmur Tbk, which have announced plans to invest several hundred million dollars in Indonesia's poultry sector, aiming to tap a chunk of Asia's export potential, as well as strong domestic growth.
Japan cut off Indonesian imports around 10 years ago over avian-flu concerns, but agreed to a resumption after a visit by trade delegates to updated facilities on Java island last summer, said Nurlaila Nur Muhamad, director of agriculture and forestry product exports at Indonesia's trade ministry.
"The first Japan poultry shipment is now imminent," she told Reuters. "We have a chance at exporting to other countries, not only Japan ... The first choice is Asia."
Hit by scares over chicken meat safety in 2014, Japan was open to further diversifying its poultry supplies beyond China and Thailand, signing an agreement with Indonesia in late August that is expected to be worth up to $200 million a year. Japan's total annual poultry imports were worth 150 billion yen ($1.3 billion) in 2014. Continuación...