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Journey of our FIRST EXPORT pt 1

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

Hi all!

It’s Maya from do-business and be-event team.

This week, I have another exciting story, so I will continue my series: “working at” next week!

So, what is it about?


Recently, we just finished exporting 2 tons of fermented cacao beans from our farmers in Jembrana and 1 ton of cashew nuts which came from our client’s farmer to Japan.

For your information, that was our first time selling fermented cacao beans and exporting products in BIG quantities. It is going to be a long story so I will split this into parts.

The story starts here.

Our founder has a good colleague who also runs a green business and coffee shop in Bali. She also has many food manufacturing clients in Japan. Back in September 2020, he asked me to contact our cocoa farmer (Made Sugandi) to get the sample as soon as possible because her client was about to be back in Japan in a few days. I can say it was perfect timing to receive the cacao beans with a good quality (grade A) cacao on that month because it was just over the harvested time.

A month after we sent the sample to our founder’s colleague, we followed up and she sent us some pictures of the chocolate bar. YES! the fermented cacao was tested by one chocolate factory in Japan and we got good feedback. The chocolate tasted good and they were interested in our fermented cacao beans.

I remembered that day, around 7 in the morning when Okta, Fabian, and I were on the way to BMKG FGD event, I got one confirmation message that the chocolate factory in Japan wanted to order 2 tons of fermented cacao beans and we proceed it right away to our farmer, Made Sugandi.

I was so excited yet scared because that was our first time to do export and we really needed to prepare everything carefully. We had not known about the preparation process from the farmer and at that time, we also needed to prepare for the shipping. I’m happy that on the first step of processing the order, everyone was really helpful. The farmer had had export experience, he did export several times for the fermented cacao beans, so of course, he had recommendations for the logistic company. He gave us some contacts and I contacted them all. Although They had had experience in exporting raw materials, WE ENCOUNTER AN ISSUE.

As for payment confirmation from the client, I needed to make some documents about the farmer, the plantation, and the background of the logistic company which I also needed to consult to clients in case they have requests for the stock room, container, and/or the shipping. After updating about the product’s preparation and logistic company, the client had several requests:

1. She had an order for 1 ton of cashew nuts and she wanted to send it to Japan together with the cacao, so, we needed to prepare a huge space for the container.

2. She wanted to experiment with the cacao beans to be packed in GrainPro plastic (they doubled it with a sack) and a sack. In this part, it was quite challenging to brief the farmer how to separate the cacao packing into GrainPro plastic and sack because that was also their first time using it.

Another story about that GrainPro plastic was that we needed to wait until it arrived in Denpasar and then we could ship it to our farmer in Jembrana. It needed a week until the farmer received it and start the cacao’s packing.

3. She requested that the container is a reefer (refrigerated truck with temperature control) and it had to be 10 degrees Celsius. Another request for the container, the ventilation fan had to be 50% open. Honestly, I had no idea about this until the day the container arrived and I saw the facility on that container (I will share it with you on the next blog). So, the problem was about 6 logistic companies that I contacted before, did not have the container with a temperature-controlled facility. Our concern that time, the time was running, we were afraid if the cacao quality was no longer good and the factory wanted to use the cacao beans soon.

4. She also requested that no fumigation was needed/allowed. As I shared with you that I had to prepare the documents, which included the photos of the farm, the certificate of the cacao beans (organic certificate), how the farmers planted the cacao beans, how they take care of the plants, etc. And for logistic company, we had to make sure that it has good storage to keep the cashew nuts and fermented cacao beans safe. So, you can imagine I learned a lot in a short amount of time.

5. Finally, before the products were loaded into the container, she requested all the goods had to be packed with plastic pallets. We got the information from the logistic company that in Japan, the government will charge several amounts of money if you pack it with the wooden pallets. In this case, we also needed to find a logistic company that can provide plastic pallets to pack all the goods.

From all the requests, all I needed to do first was finding the logistic company that has a reefer facility and can provide plastic pallets for the packing of all goods. We found one logistic company as our farmer’s suggestion but..after we updated the client and consult it, the shipping cost was crazy expensive. We needed to find more logistic companies and it took two weeks to finally find the last logistic company that can help us with all client’s request. This is a bit funny. We have one partner of logistic company. They helped us to ship the individual package to Japan and the biogas to our farmers in Bajawa. That day, I finally contacted them and told them about our first export issue AND THEY CAN HELP US. WHY DID I SPEND 3 WEEKS TO FIND LOGISTICS COMPANY WHILE WE ALREADY HAD ONE PARTNER THAT CAN HELP US?!! :”””””””

I was so happy that they can help us and the price was cheaper than the previous one.

Wow! My sharing is already long and I still have several pieces of information that I want to share about the preparation with the logistics and the drama behind this process. I think I will share everything with you on my next blog, next week. I will talk about the documents that you need to prepare, what to check before the goods departed from Bali to Japan, and I will tell you what you need to update and communicate with the client.

Thank you for always reading my blog, see you next week, and stay safe wherever you are! <3

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