Spicing Up Global Markets: The Lucrative Trade of Clove Exports from Indonesia

Spicing Up Global Markets: The Lucrative Trade of Clove Exports from Indonesia

Indonesia is renowned for its diverse and high-quality agricultural products, and among them, cloves hold a significant place. As one of the world’s largest producers of cloves, Indonesia plays a crucial role in the global spice trade. This article delves into the clove export industry in Indonesia, highlighting its significance, export processes, and the requirements for businesses looking to enter this lucrative market.

The Significance of Cloves in Indonesia

Cloves, aromatic flower buds from the clove tree (Syzygium aromaticum), are primarily grown in Indonesia’s Maluku Islands, known as the Spice Islands. These spices have a long history, deeply intertwined with Indonesia’s cultural and economic heritage. Today, Indonesia is one of the top clove producers globally, with significant contributions to both local and international markets.

Cloves are highly valued for their culinary and medicinal properties. They are a staple in Indonesian cuisine and are also used in the production of clove cigarettes (kretek), essential oils, and traditional medicines. The global demand for cloves is driven by their versatile applications, making them a valuable export commodity for Indonesia.

The Clove Export Process

Exporting cloves from Indonesia involves several steps, each requiring careful attention to detail to ensure compliance with international standards and regulations. The key stages in the clove export process include:

  1. Harvesting and Processing: Cloves are harvested by hand and then dried in the sun to reduce moisture content. Proper drying is crucial to prevent mold growth and maintain quality. The dried cloves are then sorted and graded based on size, color, and aroma.
  2. Packaging: High-quality packaging is essential to preserve the cloves’ aroma and prevent contamination. Export-grade cloves are typically packed in jute bags, which are then sealed and labeled according to export requirements.
  3. Quality Control: Before shipment, cloves undergo rigorous quality control checks to ensure they meet international standards. This includes testing for moisture content, pesticide residues, and microbial contamination.
  4. Documentation: Exporting cloves requires a series of documents, including a commercial invoice, packing list, certificate of origin, phytosanitary certificate, and export permit. These documents are essential for customs clearance and ensuring compliance with importing countries’ regulations.
  5. Shipping and Logistics: Cloves are exported via sea or air freight, depending on the destination and urgency. Exporters must coordinate with shipping companies and ensure that the cloves are stored in appropriate conditions during transit.

Requirements for Exporting Cloves from Indonesia

To successfully export cloves from Indonesia, businesses must adhere to a set of requirements and regulations. Here is a comprehensive list of the key requirements:

  1. Business Registration: Exporters must be legally registered as a business entity in Indonesia. This involves obtaining a business license from the relevant government authorities.
  2. Export Permit: Exporters need to secure an export permit from the Ministry of Trade. This permit is essential for legal export activities and is obtained by submitting the necessary documentation and fulfilling regulatory criteria.
  3. Phytosanitary Certificate: This certificate, issued by the Indonesian Quarantine Agency, certifies that the cloves meet the health and safety standards of the importing country. It ensures that the cloves are free from pests and diseases.
  4. Certificate of Origin: Issued by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce, this certificate verifies that the cloves originate from Indonesia. It is often required to benefit from trade agreements and preferential tariffs.
  5. Quality Standards Compliance: Exporters must ensure that their cloves meet international quality standards. This includes adherence to standards set by organizations such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
  6. Customs Clearance: Exporters must comply with Indonesian customs regulations, which include submitting the necessary documentation, paying export duties, and ensuring that the shipment adheres to customs procedures.
  7. Sustainability Practices: Increasingly, international markets are emphasizing sustainable and ethical sourcing practices. Exporters should consider adopting sustainable farming and fair trade practices to enhance their marketability.

Clove Export Markets

Our cloves are one of the most sought-after spice products making clove exports still as invaluable as ever. USD 54.62 Million or 9.28 million tons of cloves was exported from Indonesia in the year 2022. The reason why our cloves have a name in the international market is because of their uniqueness. Not only it was harvested by hand, but its drying process which does not include fermentation caused Indonesian clove to contain more than 18% of oil and more than 70% of eugenol which makes it considered as high-quality clove. The TOP 5 countries of our cloves importers are India, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates. India is one of the largest importers of cloves, using them extensively in cooking, traditional medicine, and religious rituals. The UAE imports cloves for culinary uses and the production of traditional spice blends. Cloves are used in traditional Arabian cooking and for making aromatic blends. Malaysia and Singapore import cloves as they also use them for many occasions and purposes as well but cannot produce cloves themselves.


The clove export industry in Indonesia offers substantial opportunities for businesses willing to navigate its complexities. By understanding the significance of cloves, following the export process, and adhering to the regulatory requirements, exporters can tap into the global demand for this valuable spice. With meticulous planning and compliance, the potential for growth in the clove export sector is immense, contributing to Indonesia’s economy and the global spice trade.

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