RIYADH: The Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh hosted a rice festival to promote their rice products in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabian businessmen, importers, representatives of supermarkets, hypermarkets, and restaurant owners attended the “Indonesia Rice Festival” organized by the Embassy.
“This is to show to the local public that they also have the option to use Indonesian rice for their daily dishes, in addition to the basmati rice they are using every day,” said Arief Hidayat, the acting Indonesian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
The event promoted various Indonesian rice products, ranging from long grain aromatic types to organic premium red and white rice.
Guests were also served typical local dishes such as kabsa and biryani, which were made using Indonesian rice.
They were also treated to a virtual business meeting between Indonesian rice exporters — namely Food Station and Bulog Indonesia — with the Saudi Arabian businessmen who were interested in exploring new business opportunities.
The local importers expressed their interest by inquiring about the price offered, the minimum order quantity and the possibility of in-house branding with rice from Indonesia.
According to figures provided by the embassy, the Kingdom imported 1.5 million tons of rice in 2020.
The countries supplying the most rice to Saudi Arabia are India (1.2 million tons), Pakistan (127,000), the US (113,000), Vietnam (32,000), and Thailand (31,000).
The Asian rice-eating population in Saudi Arabia is mostly expats from Indonesia, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.
“Assuming each person consumes 150 grams per day, then the potential consumption of Asian rice is 76,000 tons per year. Given that Indonesia’s rice production had a surplus in 2020 of 4.64 million tons, Saudi Arabia is one of the potential markets for Indonesian rice,” said the embassy in a statement.
“Indonesian rice is getting ready to enter the Saudi market,” it added.
Indonesia and Saudi Arabia share strong trade relations. The Kingdom ranks 23rd among Indonesia’s export destinations and is among its top 10 import markets, with a total trade value of $4.61 billion between January and November 2019.