Indonesia to extend cattle import permits following price rises

By Chloe Ryan

- Last updated on GMT

Indonesia is to allow a further 50,000 cattle to be imported
Indonesia is to allow a further 50,000 cattle to be imported

Related tags Indonesia Beef Livestock

Indonesia will issue permits to allow the import of a further 50,000 cattle after beef prices rose sharply, prompting protests by butchers. 

The move was announced by chief economics minister Sofyan Djalil on Monday, although he did not say over what period the cattle would be imported. “I have given consent for the state logistics agency to import 50,000 live cattle,”​ he told reporters.

Indonesia announced a dramatic cut in live cattle import permits last month to 50,000 animals for the three months to September, down from 250,000 in the previous quarter.

The decision shocked the Australian government and the country’s producers, which supply much of Indonesia’s live cattle market. Reports claimed they had expected a quota of about 200,000 animals.

Beef prices have reportedly risen to as much as 130,000 rupiah ($10) a kilogram in Indonesia, far above the usual price of Rp90,000.

The price rise prompted Indonesian butchers in Jakarta to begin a four-day strike last weekend. “The reason we staged the demonstration is to paralyse the importers,”​ Haliman, a butcher at the market in Mayestik, South Jakarta, told local news website “How can we sell?”

Australian northern territory agriculture minister Willem Westra van Holthe said he was hopeful Australian cattle producers would be able to meet the demand. His Queensland counterpart, Bill Byrne, was also at the Jakarta meeting. Both ministers pushed for Indonesia to move to an annual allocation of live cattle permits in what Byrne told journalists was a “frank exchange”. 

According to reports, van Holthe said he was hopeful the two countries could end ad hoc arrangements between the two countries and put in place clear quotas to allow producers and consumers to be more certain over supply and price. Talks with Indonesia’s trade minister Rachmat Gobel were “very fruitful”​, he told reporters.

“He has given some very strong indications that they are interested in looking at a 12-month quota system and I’ve asked that we co-operate into the future so we can make that happen,”​ he said.

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