Author Topic: Talks fail to persuade Indonesia to increase yearly cattle quota  (Read 818 times)

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Talks fail to persuade Indonesia to increase yearly cattle quota
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2012, 03:53:20 PM »
Indonesia's trade minister is standing firm on plans for a radical cut to cattle imports from Australia this year.

Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson and the head of the National Farmers Federation met Indonesia's trade minister, Gita Wiryawan, in Jakarta yesterday to discuss ways to improve the cattle trade.

This year, Indonesia has indicated it will import 283,000 head of Australian cattle, which is almost half of the import permits issued in 2011.

Local meat processors say beef prices have risen by 15 per cent as a result.

While the quota for the upcoming quarter has surged, Gita Wiryawan says there are no plans to raise the overall limit on imports.

Instead, he wants Australian industry to focus on investing in Indonesia.

The Australian Government will spend $20 million in aid over the next six years to help small Indonesian cattle farmers boost their productivity.

The Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association says it respects the Indonesian Government's right to determine its own live cattle import permit quotas.

With 125,000 cattle expected to be exported by Australian producers in the second quarter of this year, there'll be just 100,000 permits remaining for the rest of the year.

NTCA executive director Luke Bowen says the Indonesian Government is aware of the impact its self-sufficiency policy is having.

"They are getting a handle on the supply and demand, the price of beef in the market place and the price of beef in the paddock for local producers," he said.

"They are the factors that they have to balance in making their decisions about what they import at any point throughout the year."

Kimberley livestock agent Kelvin Hancey says it's likely a lot of northern cattle will be trucked into domestic markets this year if Indonesia sticks to its import quotas.

He says although Indonesia has increased the amount of imports permits for the second quarter, the quota will be easily filled.

"125,000 might sound like a lot, but up in this country from here (Kimberley, WA) to Queensland, it's possibly not a lot of cattle," he said.

"Sometimes there's other overseas markets (for these cattle), such as Egypt and the Middle East, but that looks pretty quiet at this stage as well, so there might be an overflow (into domestic markets), but who knows."

The supply of northern cattle versus the dwindling demand from Indonesia is being reflected in live export prices, with heifers exported from Darwin currently fetching $1.65 a kilo, down from over $2 a kilo last year.

Mr Hancey says the drop in price is a concern and it's not known whether it'll improve.

"It seems like a lower start and whether it firms or not will depend on shipping, supply and a lot of other things," he said.

"I talk to graziers every day and it's a real source of concern for people, this lower (price) start."

By Matt Brown, Liz Trevaskis and Matt Brann
Thursday, 22/03/2012
http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201203/s3460880.htm