USSEC, in collaboration with the Indonesian Tempe Forum (ITF), successfully hosted the 1st USSEC - ITF International Tempe Seminar in Bali on July 6 and 7. The seminar facilitated discussion on the production, nutritional and health aspects of soy and fermented soy foods such as tempe, and their beneficial roles in maintaining good health for different population groups. The event, which took place over a day and a half, further provided participants with insights on scientific research, the status of the current soy market, and development opportunities related to tempe and its potential growth in utilization from domestic to international markets. Nearly 140 stakeholders from different sectors related to and interested in the soy and tempe industry attended the seminar, which was held in conjunction with the 2018 ITF Convention. Leading producers, buyers, academics, and officials from government agencies came together to pledge support for the Indonesia Tempe industry, ways to improve quality and diversification of tempe products, and to gain wider recognition across all sectors of society for this important and unique Indonesian Heritage Food.
Participants learned valuable information on the benefits and sustainability of U.S. Soy from United Soybean Board (USB) director, Lawrence Sukalski, a grower leader from Minnesota, who acknowledged the importance of this market for U.S. farmers. Indonesia is the third largest user of U.S. Soy, with over 2.5 million metric tons (MMT) imported for food use in 2017, the majority used for tempe production.
U.S. Soy plays an important role in facilitating person-to-person collaboration between U.S farmers and Indonesian tempe and tofu makers, leading to an improved living standard reflected in both income and nutritional fulfillment, while contributing to the preservation of this intangible cultural heritage food. The traditional practice of daily consumption of tempe is practiced in the majority of households in Java, with national per capita intake of 9 kilograms (kg) of tempe annually, and an estimate of up to 17 kg per year in some Javanese districts.
The seminar program concluded with a panel discussion and Q&A with USSEC staff fielding questions and answering queries to assure supply and support to grow the Indonesian tempe industry and market.
Chris Rittgers, Agricultural Counselor, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) U.S. Embassy Jakarta, opened the seminar, with a welcome remark by Timothy Loh, USSEC Regional Director – Southeast Asia (SEA).
USSEC staff and consultants who spoke and participated in the program included Ibnu Eddy Wiyono, Country Representative – Indonesia; Ali Basry, consultant; Dr. Dady Maskar, Indonesia Soy Food Program Manager; and Boon Yee Yeong, Senior Technical Consultant – SEA, Human Utilization, Singapore.