The Indonesian government has indicated it will issue permits allowing 700,000 head of cattle to be imported from Australia next year.
The Jakarta Globe is reporting that Indonesia plans to increase its number of live cattle imports as well as its supply of Indian buffalo meat to help reduce the nation’s rising beef prices.
“The government has revised plans to import buffalo meat from India,” it said.
“It now expects to ship in 100,000 tonnes of the meat by June 2017, rather than aiming for 80,000 tonnes of such imports this year.”
Australian live cattle exporters have told ABC Rural they are “encouraged” by the news, but are waiting on confirmation.
The industry has still not officially received permits to export cattle to Indonesia for the current third trimester (T3).
Industry would like to see permits issued at start of year
Stuart Kemp from the Northern Territory Livestock Exporters Association, said 700,000 head was a “good number” and “hopefully achievable”.
He said the industry would be keen to see the permits issued at the start of the year, rather than the current system of permits allocated every four months.
Number of possible changes afoot
According to the Jakarta Globe, the Indonesian government is pushing cattle buyers to start breeding their own livestock to help reduce the country’s dependence on imports from Australia.
Trade minister Enggartiasto Lukita told local media that for every five cattle imported, feedlots would need at least one animal for breeding purposes.
Mr Kemp said there were a number of potential changes afoot, but industry would just have to wait and see.
“Last year the same thing happened, with the then trade minister voicing the opinion [annual permits] was the way of the future,” he said.
“They then flagged early on that they would like 600,000 head of cattle for the year and it was broken into trimesters, which was a big step, going from [permits issued every] quarter to trimesters.
“That same sort of conversation is being had at the moment — around going to an annual system — but they’re also trying to link it with a few other initiatives and we’ll see how that rolls out.”
The Australian live cattle export industry is expecting Indonesia to issue around 150,000 permits for the current third trimester.