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Jakarta meat sellers voice quota cutback concerns

Beef Central, 16/04/2012

Rising beef prices in Indonesia caused by a reported scarcity of meat in the country are adding to further local calls for the Indonesian Government to reconsider its beef ‘self-sufficiency’ program.

The Indonesian Indigenous Entrepreneurs Association (HIPPI) has spoken out in the Jakarta media about the impact that a shortage of meat is having on local businesses.

Sarman Simanjorang, Jakarta branch chairman of the HIPPI, said the Government cutbacks in import beef quotas had driven up prices to Rp 80,000 ($8.70) per kilogram, which was pushing meatball and sausage producers to the brink of collapse.

He predicted that beef prices would reach Rp 120,000 a kilogram during the Idul Fitri, Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

“The sharp decline has led to scarcities and soaring prices,” Sarman told the Jakarta Globe.

“The Agriculture Ministry was convinced the shortage could be covered with local beef stock, according to a census of cattle, but the fact is there is very little stock.”

He added that traders in East Java, traditionally a cattle supplier, were also complaining about a beef scarcity.

The Indonesian Government cut import quotas from 100,000 tonnes in 2011 to 34,000 in 2012.

This year’s quota was divided into two semesters, with 20,400t for the first semester which runs until July, and 13,600t for the second semester.

The first semester quota was only sufficient to meet demand until April, Sarman told the Jakarta Globe.

Sarman said Jakarta alone required 50,000 to 60,000 tons of beef imports per year.

He predicted that the second half quota would only meet two months’ worth of demand, which would be a ‘disaster for religious events’.

Sarman said he hoped the government would put in place a special quota for Jakarta by allowing the capital to get 50,000 to 60,000 tons of imported beef. That, he said, would save small industries that depend on the raw meat.

A meatball seller in East Jakarta told the paper that his profits had plunged 70 percent.

“I’m struggling to keep my business afloat,” the businessman named Tatat said, who sells meatballs in traditional markets and supermarkets. “The price of beef has surged by 35 percent but we can’t increase our meatball price by 35 percent. In the end, we had to lower quality.”

He had since had to leave 100 workers go, leaving only 50 people on the payroll.

Tatat said the government needed to remove its cap on beef imports or ensure there was a sufficient local beef supply, and said protests would ensue if the government “failed to fix the mess it had made”. 

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