National Ornamental Fish Industry Finds Opportunity in Saudi Arabia’s Pet Market

National Ornamental Fish Industry Finds Opportunity in Saudi Arabia's Pet Market (photo: Worachat Sodsri - Unsplash)

Indonesia, the world’s third-largest exporter of ornamental fish, is benefiting from the growing trend of pet ownership among Saudis, particularly the keeping of exotic fish as pets. The increasing demand for it in Saudi Arabia is opening up vast opportunities for Indonesian ornamental fish businesses.

According to Gunawan, the Commercial Attaché at KBRI Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian ornamental fish industry has committed to increasing its imports from Indonesia, creating a significant opportunity for the domestic industry.

“Indonesian ornamental fish businesses now have a great opportunity to increase transactions in exporting it to Saudi Arabia,” Gunawan said in a written statement on Thursday, May 11, 2023.

Recently, the Indonesian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abdul Azis Ahmad, and the Commercial Attaché at KBRI Riyadh, held a business meeting with the CEO of the pet company Pet Oasis Company (POC), Syakir Alghamdi, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

According to Gunawan, there is a vast potential for exporting pet animals, including freshwater ornamental fish, from Indonesia, given the country’s tropical climate and abundant water resources.

Indonesia has a diverse range of pet animals in large quantities, making it an excellent source for pet importers. In addition to importing pet animals, POC is also planning to import equipment and veterinary experts from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia.

Indonesia’s freshwater ornamental fish farming involves many micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs). Hence, Gunawan suggests that the government, ministries, local governments, and associations need to increase the competence and production capacity of the farmers through integration schemes with aggregators to encourage the export of ornamental fish by MSMEs.

According to trade statistics, the export from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia was worth US$132,000 in 2022, a decline from 2021’s US$344,000 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the tripling of shipping costs.

However, Indonesia’s ability to export freshwater ornamental fish to the world has increased in the last three years, from US$24.68 million in 2020 to US$27.85 million in 2021, and US$29.55 million in 2022.

Overall, the burgeoning Saudi Arabian pet market, along with Indonesia’s abundant pet resources, presents a unique opportunity for Indonesian fish businesses to increase their exports and contribute to the country’s economy.

The Indonesian government needs to provide adequate support to MSMEs, including fish farmers, to help them scale up and meet the growing demand in the international pet market.