Monday, June 21, 2010

National 'Recognition' on Catfish from Indonesia

At least two tons of catfish were unloaded at the east parking lot of the Jakarta Senayan Sports Stadium this weekend, not to feed football match spectators but to get ’recognition’ as one of the country’s food resilience commodities. Catfish, locally called ’lele’ is a very popular dish served in various food stalls beginning from roadside food tents to luxury restaurants.

Affordable by the lower segment of society, the most popular type of this fish dish is "pecel lele," or fried lele served with chilli sauce and vegetables.
As if coming out of the blue, people flocked to the Senayan parking lot on Saturday where different kinds of lele were displayed or served like boiled and fried lele shredded meat and pecel lele.

People came to the parking lot as it was the venue of a "Grand Catfish Festival 2010". No less than First Lady Ani Yudhoyono also attended the festivity. When she inaugurated the event, she declared catfish as one of the country’s food resilience commodities, calling on people to eat the protein-rich fish and encourage the cultivation of the fresh water fish.

"I have one grandchild and I want to teach her to eat lele when she has reached the age of five years," she said.

At the inauguration of the "Grand Catfish Festival 2010," the First Lady said the food resilience program should not be measured from carbohydrate content only but also from the availability of protein content, and catfish was rich in protein. Catfish, according to Ani Yudhoyono, not only contained 17 percent protein but was also low in cholesterol, had a delicious flavor.

"Catfish prices are low making it affordable by common people. Lele or catfish is one of the country’s food resilience commodities," Ani said.

To enliven the catfish festival, a total of 37 stalls of ’pecel lele joined forces to sell one ton of "pecel lele" worth Rp6.000 per package. Some 600 kilogram (kg) of live catfish was put up for sale directly to the public at the price of Rp7.000 per kg.

"About 400 kg of catfish will be used for cooking demonstrations that will be followed by 150 participants from the Greater Jakarta area," Soen’an Hadi Purnomo of the Maritime and Fisheries Affairs (KKP) said.

In order to meet the need for catfish at the festival, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries had supplied two tons of catfish to be sold to the public at a low price. Soen’an Hadi Purnomo, who is head of Data Center for Statistics and Information (Pusdatin) of KKP, said the two tons of catfish were donated by the Directorate General of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

"Some of the catfish will be sold live, some after being cooked, and some parts for the purposes of cooking demos," he said.

According to First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, catfish-related exhibitions will also feature the festival which is held from June 19 to 20 at the Parking Lot of the Bung Karno Sports Stadium in Senayan. The public could get various kinds of information ranging from technical catfish cultivation, feed, until processed catfish.

Another interesting thing was the holding of special business meeting to bring together catfish farmers and entrepreneurs. Some stakeholders such as PT Alang-alang from Boyolali, abon (boiled and fried shredded meat) catfish producers, "Cat Fish Club", Lele Lela, Department of Marine Fisheries in Yogyakarta and Central Java, to the catfish feed companies took part in the festival Ani said cultivating catfish ponds did not require extensive land. After all, catfish has strong resistance against moody water making its cultivation much easier and offering opportunities that could improve the people’s welfare.

For the purpose, Ani urged the Civil Servant Wives Organization (PKK) in the regions throughout the country to encourage backyard cultivation of catfish.

"Raise catfish in the yards for both own consumption and for sale. So this catfish can make families healthy and prosperous," she said.

Even in Jakarta which has a dense population and limited land, catfish farming can be run, Ani said. At the event, organized by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Ani also called on the entire community to change their outlook that often saw catfish as an unhealthy food product.

Moreover, Ani also urged parents to teach their children to eat fish which had high protein in an effort to improve the quality of human resources. The catfish festival is intended to improve the image of cultured fish which is often considered as not clear but a clean fish which is safe and healthy for consumption and could improve the intelligence and welfare of the people.

The catfish festival includes such activities as business meetings which bring together catfish entrepreneurs. It also presents cooking competitions for various kinds of catfish menus. Exhibitions on various kinds of processed catfish food products ranging from catfish abon (shredded meat), catfish crisp, pecel lele to catfish soup.

National production of catfish in 2008 reached 114,371 tons, and in 2009 it increased nearly 75 percent to around 200 thousand tons. The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has set itself a target of an increase catfish production by 450 percent to 900 thousand tonnes in 2014.

Catfish is a popular fish species in communities that has a significant growth of approximately 32 percent per annum during the period 2005-2009. The national consumption of catfish in 2009 only reached 30.17 kg per capita per year, still below the recommended 31.40 kg per capita per year.

The Grand Catfish Festival aims to encourage the development of the catfish industry in Indonesia, particularly in the marketing aspect and encourage the development of catfish consumption in the community.

source : kompas

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