WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. – The U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, Joseph R. Donovan Jr., recently visited a tempeh manufacturing plant in Indonesia. It highlighted the use of U.S. soybean exports to fulfill food security and nutritional status in Indonesia, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

“Tempe is Indonesian consumers’ primary protein source and imported U.S. soybeans account for 90% of the soybeans required to produce it,” the USDA said. “With exports of 2.4 million tons, valued at almost a billion dollars in 2017, U.S. soybeans are the number one U.S. agricultural export to Indonesia.”

Tempeh is a traditional soy product from Indonesia that is created from fermented soybeans. 

During the visit Donovan saw first-hand how tempeh is produced and learned why Indonesians favor U.S. soybeans. 

“Soybeans from the United States are number one,” explained Harnina Bintari the Indonesian Tempeh Forum’s Central Java chairperson, to Ambassador Donovan. 

Bintari explained that U.S. soybeans are more consistent in size and quality and can be stored for longer periods of time. These characteristics are critical for tempeh producers.

Appreciation was also expressed for past U.S. government and soybean industry assistance to small-scale Indonesian producers. Bintari said these technical assistance programs resulted in improved hygiene standards and boosted manufacturing quality. 

USDA, in partnership with the U.S. Soybean Export Council, established the Indonesia Tempeh Forum in 2008 to provide technical assistance to thousands of small-scale tempeh producers.