The Indonesian Government has confirmed permit allocations covering 60,000 cattle for the January/March quarter of 2012 – pretty much in line with earlier industry expectations.
Beef Central first indicated that the quarterly quota allocation was likely to reach 60,000 head in an article last week, "Cattle left behind as exporters sweat on import permits."
Late last year Indonesia announced a significant cut to the amount of live cattle it would import from Australia, down from 510,000 head to 283,000 (see Beef Central’s original story published on December 15, “Indonesia tipped to slash 2012 live cattle, beef quotas”).
Australian Livestock Exporters Council chief executive Lach MacKinnon said the allocation of 60,000 head was a little less than one quarter of this year’s total proposed quota, leaving a little volume in reserve for higher demand periods leading up to Ramadan and other religious festivals.
If the reduced quota is adhered to, it would inevitably mean less Australian cattle being shipped to Indonesia this year, even given the mid-year suspension of trade in 2010. Total shipments for 2012 anywhere near the proposed quota of 283,000 head would represent the lowest level of trade to Indonesia in more than a decade, unseen since the trade collapsed in 1999-2001.
The NT Livestock Exporters Association remains hopeful that Indonesia will consider increasing import permit numbers later in the year. Chief executive Kevin Mullvahil said changes that had been made to supply-chain management of the live cattle trade between the countries could bring about change.
"Demand for clean, fresh meat through our supply-chains could actually improve our permit situation,” he said.
The first 2012 shipment of 7500 Australian cattle bound for Indonesia left Darwin late last week.
Meanwhile, in-market sources in Indonesia have hosed-down rumours circulating that the Indonesian Government may be moving to adopt a process where each exporter and importer are restricted to working with just one feedlot and one accredited abattoir through the supply chain.
Local sources say transition in responsibility between two Indonesian Government departments over the issuance of import permits may be behind the confusing signals.
They remain confident that the matter will be sorted out internally, without further market disruption. DAFF sources earlier interpreted the development as being more serious than it now appears, local contacts told Beef Central.