A REPORTED shortage of frozen Indian buffalo meat in Indonesian cold stores is expected to be short lived after an announcement overnight that the National Logistics Agency Bulog now plans to import another 30,000 tons of buffalo meat from India this year.
As Dr Ross Ainsworth reported yesterday meat wholesalers in Indonesia became aware of a shortage of frozen buffalo when they began to receive calls from traders unable to obtain supplies from their usual sources.
Domestic cold stores began to empty in recent weeks with no official word from the Indonesian Government as to if and when new imports might recommence.
Cheaper Indian carabeef has had an impact on demand for fresh beef from imported Australian cattle fed in Indonesian feedlots since being allowed into the country in August 2016.
However, after a meeting at the Office of the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs in Jakarta on Monday, the director of Bulog procurement, Bachtiar, provided clarity around the future of Indian buffalo meat imports this year.
After the meeting he told Indonesian news agencies that Bulog plans to bring 30,000 tonness of buffalo meat from India this year.
“Realisation has already exceeded 20,000 tons. We want to enter another 30,000 tons from India,” he said, according to an Antara news agency report on Monday night.
The report said that even though demand for meat was still stable, Bulog was trying to keep consumers consuming meat at affordable prices.
Bulog will sell buffalo meat to distributors in the amount of IDR 57,750 per kg, while distributors sell to the market and at the consumer level of IDR 80,000 per kg.
However, Bulog Corporation had yet to open an auction for buffalo meat importing companies to determine the most suitable price.
“We usually invite (importers), the lowest price we take. It was (invited) yesterday but we are pending first because it is still expensive,” he said.
Bachtiar said that the realisation of new buffalo meat imports reached 20,000 tons, from the permits granted by the Ministry of Trade as many as 100,000 tons.
The report said that of the total 20,000 tonnes that has entered, there are still around 1000 tonnes of imported buffalo meat stock spread throughout the regional Division of Bulog Warehouse.
The most absorption of imported meat is during major holidays such as Ramadhan and Eid al-Fitr. In addition, he said, in the near future around 200 tonnes of meat will still arrive at the DKI Jakarta Division.
“Now there are around 200 tons that will arrive in the following weeks with possibly for the DKI Division first,” he said.
Meat and Food Industry Entrepreneur, Yustinus Sadmoko, told Indonesian media outlet Merdeka.com that currently meat sellers, especially beef, are challenged by the presence of imported buffalo meat.
The Indian buffalo meat had taken over the market share of beef, he said.
“There is a new competition from Indian buffalo meat. From 2017 it was introduced intensively and the volume is large enough to take over our market share,” he said.
He said a lot of imported buffalo meat had entered traditional markets. “Lots of buffalo meat is leaking into traditional markets, buffaloe meat now goes to level one distributors. Once it enters retail into the market we cannot monitor it,” he said.
“Indian buffalo meat is similar to beef. If you buy it in the traditional market, there is a 50 percent chance that in Jabodetabek (Greater Jakarta) it is buffalo meat. If you take those already being sold, there is the possibility of it being buffalo meat.”
Sources: Antara and Merdeka news agencies, Indonesia