Domestic business players are still exploring opportunities to increase exports amid the large potential value that can be achieved. The medical device market is relatively new to Indonesia and the intense competition makes industry players need to prepare their own strategies. "For medical devices such as masks and medical clothes, this is a new market. Previously, it was not part of everyday life to wear it. And this is an opportunity that is still being studied and needs to be captured, "said the Chairman of the Indonesian Textile Association (API) Jemmy Kartiwa Sastraatmadja.
Indonesia has experienced a crisis in the supply of masks and medical clothes at the start of the pandemic due to limited raw materials. However, these obstacles were successfully resolved by the domestic industry in line with production shifts and adjustments in the use of raw materials.
"Back when the beginning of the pandemic, the country that rapidly adopted technology and produced raw materials was China, 60 percent of the polyester production was indeed those who supplied it. For the production of N95 masks, they adapt very quickly, ”said Jemmy.
Even though the value of masks and medical clothes is not as high as other textile products, Jemmy said the opportunity niche for medical devices remains high. He gave an example of the export of cloth masks by Indonesian companies during the pandemic. If you refer to BPS data, exports of nonwoven masks in 2020 will reach US $ 74.09 million.
Separately, Secretary General of the Indonesian Fiber and Filament Yarn Producers Association (APSyFI) Redma Gita Wiraswasta said that the market potential for medical clothing does not only come from abroad, but also from within the country. However, he said the personal protective equipment product that he was looking for was the one made from polypropylene. Production of this raw material itself is still limited in the country.
"Domestically, polypropylene production capacity is only 100,000 tons per year, not enough for all needs. "Weaving or knitting fabrics made from polyester or rayon are very abundant," said Redma.
This large production capacity, which is not accompanied by optimal domestic absorption, has prompted business actors to choose to export. Redma even said that the domestic market is also filled with imported supplies.
"Domestic demand is not optimal, even though many overseas people use woven or knitted polyester and rayon," he said.