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Beef self-sufficiency ‘unlikely’, Jakarta seminar told

Beef Central, 27/06/2013

Indonesia’s ambitions to become self-sufficient in beef production will likely remain out of sight, because of growing beef demand coupled with low domestic supply, a seminar in Jakarta this week has been told.

The seminar on Tuesday was titled “Beef Imports: Quota Issues under the World Trade Organisation” and was attended by senior Indonesian Government ministers and officials and a wide range of meat industry representatives.

A report in the Jakarta Post said the forum was told that the domestic supply of beef was declining as farmers sold breeding cows to take advantage of high beef prices in the market.

At the same time beef consumption was increasing, driven by a growing middle class and rising income levels.

“For the meat processing industry, demand grows because people now consume more processed meat, such as sausages and beef patties,” National Meat Processors Association (Nampa) chairman Ishana Mahisa said, according to the Jakarta Post report.

NAMPA members reported that demand for meat was growing by about 14pc per year, however, domestic supply had not been able to meet that demand, and import quotas were further restricting supply.

Mr Ishana said Indonesia’s population of 240 million people currently consumes around 500,000 tonnes of beef every year, or 1.8 kilograms to 2.2 kilograms per head.

He said that figure grew to 600,000 tonnes when expatriates, whose consumption per capita can be 10 to 20 times higher, were accounted for. Foreign tourists also added to the figure.

The Indonesian Government recently appointed the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) to import an additional 3000 tonnes of beef, on top of the 2013 import quota of 80,000 tonnes. (3000t equates to around 16,600 live cattle equivalents based on an average meat yield of 180kg per head)

Beef imports (in the form of both live cattle and boxed beef) are expected to account for around 15 percent of total domestic consumption in Indonesia this year,

By contrast, more than half of domestic beef consumption relied on imports in 2009.

Faiz Achmad, director for food, marine products and fishery industries at the Industry Ministry, said the secondary beef cut business alone grew between 10 and 15 percent every year, and the products continued to diversify.

“But business players in this segment are not allowed to import the raw materials even though local supply does not always meet the requirements,” he told the seminar, according to the Jakarta Post.

Faiz and Ishana insisted the government must separate the processing industry’s demand from that of general consumption when calculating a beef import quota.

They also said business players from that industry should be allowed to import raw materials of secondary cuts when necessary.

Meanwhile, Central Statistics Agency head Suryamin said his office noticed a declining cow population, although it was yet to conclude its assessment.

The agency earlier estimated that the cow population declined by around 20 percent to about 12 million in 2012, said media reports.

“In several provinces, farmers sold their cows to slaughterhouses when beef prices skyrocketed last year,” he said by phone, explaining the cause of the dwindling cow population.

The price of beef doubled during Idul Fitri last year from Rp 40,000 (US$4) to Rp 50,000 per kilogram to Rp 75,000 to Rp 80,000 per kilogram due to the lack of supply.

Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) deputy chairman Anton Supit urged the government to develop a grand design to solve the supply demand issue. “It is not fair to leave it all to farmers and breeders to reach self-sufficiency.”

Muchammad Romahurmuziy, chairman of House of Representatives commission IV overseeing agriculture, said the House was now formulating a revision to the 2009 Animal Husbandry and Health Law that would help ensure supply.

He said the revision also consisted of stricter health procedures, including quarantine measures. The bill would also make it possible for the establishment of a “quarantine island”. He expects that the bill would be passed into law by years-end.

The revision is being carried out following a 2010 Constitutional Court ruling that annulled several clauses and thus ordered lawmakers to revise them.

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