$80m Aus-Indo beef projects in focus at Broome

Beef Central, 28/02/2014

An Australian-Indonesian cattle industry forum in Broome today and tomorrow is expected to shed more light on how plans to progress two bi-lateral red meat projects worth $80m are developing.

The $20m IndoBeef project was announced in May 2012 by then agriculture minister Joe Luwdig, roughly a year after he controversially suspended the $500m per year live cattle export trade to Indonesia following footage of cattle cruelty on ABC’s Four Corners program.

At the time Mr Ludwig said the $20m would be spent helping Indonesian small farmers to improve the productivity of their cattle herds through better breeding and feeding techniques.

Almost two years later the IndoBeef is yet to officially commence, but the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), which is responsible for its management, says the six-year project is scheduled to run from this year through to 2020.

An explanatory document states that by 2020 the program is expected to have reached 70,000 Indonesian farmers and other rural beef value chain participants, with a goal of increasing beef production efficiency, beef output and beef incomes of the Indonesian farmers involved by at least 30pc.

The Northern Beef Producer Roundtable being held in Broome over the next two days is also expected to hear more detail on how the $60 million Indonesia-Australia Partnership on Food Security in the Red Meat and Cattle Sector is likely to work.

The funding commitment was announced by Kevin Rudd after he returned to the Prime Minister's office in July last year, and was supported by Tony Abbott after he became prime minister in September.

However, with the change of Government, there has been little progress made to date.

Ultimately the direction of the new partnership will hinge on the outcomes of the first meeting between representatives of both countries, which is expected to take place some time next month.

The Department of Agriculture has indicated that membership for the partnership will be selected from representatives of Indonesian and Australian government agencies, and the red meat and cattle industries and business and investment sectors from both countries.

Details provided to Beef Central by the Federal Government this week state that the Partnership will function as a high-level industry-government body, providing strategic advice on areas of priority investment and agricultural cooperation, aimed at:

  • Improving the long-term sustainability, productivity and competitiveness of Indonesia’s beef and cattle sector;
  • Supporting the bilateral exchange of agricultural expertise related to the red meat and cattle sector;
  • Strengthening Indonesia-Australia bilateral business, investment and trade ties, and supporting closer engagement with red meat and cattle sector of both countries; and
  • Formalising regular meetings between governments and the red meat and cattle industry from both Indonesia and Australia.

In terms of funding, $60 million has been allocated to the partnership over the next 10 years.

Of this, $50 million will be drawn from Australia’s Official Development Assistance (foreign aid) budget to support cooperation activities, which will be administered by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The remaining $10 million will be non-ODA funding, which will be administered by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, and targeted at promoting investment by Australian companies in the beef sector in Indonesia.

The Department said examples of possible activities for agriculture cooperation and investment in Indonesia, include herd building and cattle breeding, genetic development, skills exchange, development and capacity building, improving animal welfare, improving meat supply chain efficiency and food safety and animal/product traceability, as well as investment support and feasibility studies.

Federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce is expected to discuss Australia’s plans for the red meat partnership in further detail during his address to the Northern Beef Producer Roundtable in Broome.


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