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The main problem facing the Indonesian coconut charcoal briquette industry, which is entirely produced for shisha (Middle Eastern smoking style) today is the difficulty of export/shipment. Actually, this is not a new thing, because in the last few years several shipping companies, which incidentally are entirely foreign companies, have started not accepting shisha charcoal briquettes. Asep Jembar Mulyana, Head of Organization for HIPBAKI (Indonesian Coconut Charcoal Briquette Association) stated this.

“However, because there are still some shipping lines that are still receiving, we don’t really care about it. It was only in early June 2021 that shipping became a very serious problem. One of the largest shipping carriers that still received our products ended up not accepting either. Two months later, in mid-August 2021, this cruise received shisha charcoal briquettes again, but with very burdensome regulations,” said Asep.

Shipping companies require that shisha charcoal briquettes must be shipped using refrigerated containers, plus using thermal blankets and reducing cargo capacity. This is really very burdensome, considering that the cost of shipping during this covid period has also increased by about 5 times the cost during normal times. The rejection of these shipping companies is very unacceptable and understandable, because it is one-sided and with very coercive reasons.

“For shipping safety reasons they don’t accept shisha charcoal but still accept barbecue charcoal briquettes. According to them, shisha charcoal briquettes are the most dangerous and the most flammable. This is very contradictory to the reality because this shisha charcoal briquette is the highest “caste” of the briquette industry, with the highest price economically and with the highest quality compared to other briquettes. In fact, these shisha briquettes are the safest and the most difficult to burn compared to barbecue briquettes and other briquettes,” said Asep again.

“We, the Indonesian shisha charcoal briquette industry, feel that this shisha charcoal briquette seems to be under an “embargo” so that it cannot leave Indonesia. This is quite reasonable, because the export of raw materials in the form of round coconut is increasingly massive,” he said.

With the increasingly difficult export of Indonesian shisha charcoal briquettes, it seems as if there is a systematic effort to “turn off” this industry. The scenario is that Indonesia can only export its raw materials, and in the end other countries will produce shisha charcoal briquettes with raw materials from Indonesia.

“Hopefully there will soon be an effort from the Indonesian government to save the shisha charcoal briquette industry, so that the fragrant name of Indonesia as the King of the world’s coconut charcoal briquettes is maintained,” said Asep.

Currently, the Indonesian coconut shell charcoal briquette industry is entirely produced for “shisha/hookah” purposes. The reason is that Indonesian coconut shells have the best quality and are most suitable for producing charcoal briquettes for the purposes of this Middle Eastern smoking method.

More than 90% of the world’s need for “natural” coconut charcoal briquettes for shisha/hookah is supplied from Indonesia. “Once again, we want to emphasize that the shisha/hookah charcoal briquettes produced by factories in Indonesia are “natural” without hazardous chemicals that are flammable,” said Asep.

This is different from most shisha charcoal briquettes produced in China which are generally “instant lighting” briquettes by adding hazardous flammable chemicals. The goal is that the charcoal briquettes “quickly” light up (instantly) when burned.

The number of coconut charcoal briquette companies in Indonesia is more than 200, 80% of which are MSMEs with a production capacity of 1-3 containers per month, and the number of direct workers is not less than 100 thousand people. Coconut farmers who are directly involved as suppliers of raw materials are 6 million heads of families spread throughout Indonesia.

This industry has succeeded in increasing the welfare of coconut farmers, shells which were originally a waste and left alone, are now a source of additional income that is not small. . The average export of this industry every month is around 30 thousand tons with a foreign exchange value of around IDR 7 trillion per year, of which 30% or around IDR 2 trillion is the income of coconut farmers who are the main suppliers of raw materials.