Indonesia intends to import more cattle from Australia next year as it looks to rein in rising beef prices, the country’s economic ministry said this week.
The ministry said in a statement, reported by the Jakarta Globe, that it plans to issue permits to import 700,000 cattle for slaughter in 2017, as well as ramping up buffalo meat imports from India.
“This is being done to push down prices that are still high, and to prepare for demand during the Muslim fasting month in 2017,” the ministry said.
However, highlighting the discrepancies that can exist between public Ministerial statements ahead of quota allocation periods and actual quota allocations, the Globe also pointed out that the Indonesian Government said late last year it planned to import 700,000 cattle in 2016.
It has since issued permits for 200,000 cattle in the first trimester and 250,000 cattle in the second trimester.
It is still yet to issue permits for the current third trimester which started on September 1.
All importers are being required to submit plans for cattle breeding programs before permits for feeder or slaughter cattle imports will be released.
Numbers of around 140,000 have been discussed with the trade, which, if fulfilled,would put total permits for 2016 at around 600,000 head.
In the 12 months to August, 2016, Indonesia imported 569,853 cattle from Australia.
That was 21 percent down on the 720,141 cattle imported in the previous 12 month period.
In a report on Tuesday the Jakarta Globe noted that President Joko Widodo has been pursuing food self-sufficiency to protect farmers since coming to power in late 2014, but the result has often been volatile prices and worried investors, eroding support for the government.
The Indonesian Government is pushing importers to breed more of their own livestock part of efforts to reduce its dependence on imports, which is part of the reason for the current delay in allocating third trimester permits.
Trade minister Enggartiasto Lukita said on Tuesday that for every five cattle imported, feedlots would need to have at least one animal for breeding purposes.
The government says it has also revised plans to import buffalo meat from India. It now expects to ship in 100,000 tonnes of the meat by June 2017, rather than aiming for 80,000 tonnes of such imports this year.
The Govt will destroy the industry with unreasonable demands being made on importers. Capped selling prices, compulsory breeder imports etc.