How Australia sees Indonesian beef crisis

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th December 2012

 Prices of beef in Indonesia are skyrocketing and the effect of an earlier Australian live cattle ban is being debated in Australia.

However, Australia may be merely the “meat in the sandwich” in a battle for supremacy in Indonesia’s meat industry.

The Indonesian government quotas on beef imports  have worsened the crisis, says Flora Chrisantie from the Jakarta Beef Committee, which wants the import quotas eased.

It was reported on December 14th December 2012 by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that consumers are being forced to turn to chicken in the wake of rising beef prices, which are now over AU$10 per kilo (100,000 Rp).

Australian Food News reported over 12 months ago that Indonesia was imposing cattle import quotas as part of its plan to become a self-sufficient producer of its own cattle supply. Australian Food News reported that the Australian government was assisting the Indonesian self-sufficiency program.

Ms Chrisantie says the government’s plan to be “beef self-sufficient” by 2014 is “impossible” because Indonesian farmers are continuing to sell and slaughter their breeding cows. She confirmed that the Jakarta Beef Committee has been lobbying for the government to increase quotas, and to halt its plan to place an import restriction of 267,000 cows from Australia in 2013, down from 283,000 in 2012.

The Jakarta Post has also reported that the South Jakarta Maritime and Agriculture Agency believes meat sellers in Jakarta have been selling pork meatballs instead of beef. This is devastating for Muslims, for whom eating pork is ‘haram’, forbidden.  Agung Priambodo, head of the Maritime and Agriculture Agency was quoted as saying that the vendors were “lured by the cheaper price of the ground pork”, which was advertised as beef and costs only AU$4 per kilo (40,000 Rp), compared with beef at almost 3 times that price.