Author Topic: Indonesia slashes numbers of live cattle imports. Great news,  (Read 1178 times)

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Indonesia slashes numbers of live cattle imports. Great news,
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2012, 03:12:22 PM »
Jakarta to maintain Aussie beef import cut.

 Indonesia confirmed it will slash Australian beef imports after last years suspension of live trade.

Indonesia will press ahead with the cut in Australian cattle imports announced last year after Canberra's snap suspension of the live trade, but it has not ruled out future increases to meet rising demand for beef.

The confirmation comes as Trade Minister Craig Emerson and Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig held talks with their Indonesian counterparts in Jakarta aimed at boosting market access for Australian exporters.

Indonesia's cattle import quota was cut last year, after video footage of animals being abused in Indonesian abattoirs was aired on Australian television and the federal government suspended live shipments.

There had been hopes earlier this month that Indonesia was set to increase its annual intake after announcing it would import 125,000 head of cattle in the coming April-June quarter, up from 60,000 in the previous three months.

However, the Indonesian Agriculture Ministry maintains that the quota for 2012 will remain at 283,000 head - a sharp cut compared with pre-suspension levels of more than 500,000 head a year.

Indonesian Agriculture Minister Suswono said after meeting with Senator Ludwig on Wednesday afternoon that the issue of cattle import quotas was not raised with him.

"There's no such discussion at all," Suswono said.

The quota issue was raised, however, by Dr Emerson in talks with his counterpart, Gita Wirjawan, which was followed by a meeting between Indonesian officials and a business delegation from Australia made up mostly of cattle industry representatives.

Mr Wirjawan confirmed after the talks that there was no plan to restore the quota to pre-suspension levels, but he added there would be room for increases in future years.

"The conversation will have to be between myself and the (Indonesian) minister of agriculture on that, and we are going to have that soon," Mr Wirjawan told reporters in Jakarta during a joint media conference with Dr Emerson.

"At the moment I'm not aware of the minister of agriculture's intention of raising that quota."

"But we have taken a long-term view of this in the context of where we want the Australia-Indonesia relationship to be.

"I think there is hope."

He said lifting the quota could be "one alternative in terms of providing a solution for a situation if we are short on meat availability".

Dr Emerson said Indonesia's growing middle class meant there was potential for greater demand for Australian beef products.

Indonesians currently each consume just two kilograms of beef a year.

"We have this rising affluence through Indonesia," Dr Emerson said.

"If that 2kg per person could be increased to 20kg per person, that would be a massive increase in total demand."

The visit to Jakarta was also used to announce a $20 million assistance program aimed at helping 75,000 Indonesian smallholding cattle farmers and beef producers boost productivity.

The program will run over six years from 2013.

Mr Wirjawan said the program would "ease whatever needs to be eased" in terms of the ructions caused last year as a result of the suspension of the live cattle trade.

By Karlis Salna,
AAP South-East Asia Correspondent, AAP Updated March 21, 2012
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 07:00:06 PM by WA Export News »