The Indonesian Government has released live cattle and boxed beef import permits for the second half of 2012.
Permits for 98,000 live cattle and 8300 tonnes of boxed beef have been issued for the next six months.
Import permits have previously been distributed on a quarter-by-quarter basis, however the Indonesian Government has now moved to semester-based quotas. Importers have been informed that all new permits will be issued on a six-month-basis from this point forward.
The newly released permits represent the yet-to-be-filled balance from the annual import quotas set by Indonesia for 2012, which totalled 283,000 live cattle and 34,000t of beef.
Australian feeder cattle exports to Indonesia typically exceed 50,000 head per month at the height of the northern dry season. If that rate is sustained Australian cattle shipments to the market are likely to be all but over by early September.
New orders from other markets such as Egypt and the Philippines are helping to absorb some of the slack for northern producers, but fall a long way short of filling the enormous market gap created by Indonesia’s quota restrictions.
Australia exported 192,731 head to Indonesia in the final five months of last year.
Members of the trade hope there may be a review in late August to assess whether additional permit allocations will be required.
The Indonesian Government is showing no sign of relaxing its current quota restrictions, however, a shortage of supply is generating more headlines in Indonesia as Ramadan rapidly approaches.
Jakarta’s Governor Fauzi Bowo warned on Monday that residents might have to switch their diet from beef to chicken during this year’s fasting month, should the central government ignore the administration’s request that the city’s quota of imported meat be raised.
The governor said that the city might face a shortage of beef supply due to insufficient supply of local cattle and the small beef quota imposed by the Agriculture Ministry.
The Jakarta Post said the Government had sent a letter to the Agriculture Ministry, asking for additional quota on top of the 8300 tonnes for this semester, but was still waiting for a response.
“The only thing I can do now is to urge consumers to switch to chicken temporarily,” he told reporters in Jakarta on Monday.
“But it doesn’t mean that we won’t attempt to maintain the sufficiency of beef supply [during Ramadan].”
Jakarta is said to have beef supply of 5950 tonnes stocked at distributors’ and importers’ warehouses. The City Meat Committee believes beef demand for Ramadan could reach 15,000 tonnes, as demand typically increased three-fold ahead of the Idul Fitri holiday.
City Meat Committee chairman Sarman Simanjorang told the paper that if there is a beef supply shortage during Ramadan, beef prices could soar up to Rp 200,000 (US$21.2) per kilogram. He said beef prices had begun to rise and were currently at 75,000 per kilogram.
“Actually, this semester’s import quota of 8,300 tons is now on its way to Indonesia. But if there is no additional quota, then I’m afraid importers will hold back their supply and sell it little by little,” he said.
The Jakarta chapter of the Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), however, told the paper it had not experienced any shortage of supply nor expected it to happen in the near future.
“As of today, I haven’t received any complaints from either suppliers or restaurants,” the chairman of PHRIs Jakarta chapter, Krishnadi said.
“Besides, the central government has announced the imports limitation since last year, so we have enough time to secure enough supply for the upcoming Ramadan,” he said.
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