JAKARTA — Eid Al-Adha festivities in Indonesia could generate 20.5 trillion rupiahs ($1.4 billion) this year, based on purchases made by an estimated 2.3 million families for the annual sacrifice.
The Qurbani could involve about 117 tonnes of sacrificed meat, offering a chance to increase the country’s low beef consumption and address its malnutrition problem, if officials can address unequal meat distribution, according to a June study by the Institute for Demographic and Poverty Studies.
The study found that the middle-upper class population of the country is 9 percent, or 5.6 million of the 62.4 million total population of the world’s largest Muslim country.
“Out of those in the middle-upper class bracket, we estimated 40 percent would buy a Qurbani cattle, based on a conservative assumption that one family would donate just one cattle, either a cow or a goat, given the economic slowdown from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Askar Muhammad, a researcher at the Jakarta-based think tank, told Arab News.
However, about 71 percent of those families are concentrated in the capital Jakarta and other cities in Java, Indonesia’s most populated island, causing concern that there could be a surplus of sacrificed meat in some areas, but a lack of meat in Muslim-minority regions, such as Papua.
Muhammad said a scheme is needed to help beneficiaries in remote areas of Java and other islands access sacrificed meat for the festival.
“For most beneficiaries, this could be the only time of the year when they have the opportunity to consume meat,” he said, adding that it could also “improve public health.”
He said: “This is also a good window for us to improve public health and nutrition levels, considering that our average meat consumption is low.”
Indonesia’s beef and sheep meat consumption stands at an annual 2.4 kg per capita, well below the global average of 8.1 kg, according to 2019 data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“Most beneficiaries also do not have the means to preserve fresh meat for later consumption and cooking the meat would require extra costs. The meat could also spoil during the distribution process to regions where beneficiaries are concentrated,” said Ali Nurhasan, head of the Qurbani committee at Muslim charity Rumah Zakat.
Nurhasan said the group has been tackling the problem since 2003 by distributing donated sacrificed meat as canned and corned beef or rendang, a West Sumatran specialty dish of slow-cooked beef.
In 2019, the Indonesian Ulema Council issued a fatwa aimed at rural Muslims, which allowed the preservation of sacrificed meat in cooked and canned form for later use.
“Our priority is to distribute the cans to beneficiaries in areas where donators are, but we also set aside cans as a national stock for distribution to remote areas and survivors of disasters, such as the recent flash floods in Masamba,” Nurhasan said, referring to the July 13 flash floods which struck in South Sulawesi province, killing 38 people and displacing more than 14,000.
Each can of ready-to-eat beef weighs 200 gm and has a two-year expiration date. Every year an average of 100,000 cans, from 20,000 donators, are distributed.
For each lamb that is sacrificed, the group processes the meat into about 30 cans of corned beef or 25 cans of rendang, while for each cow, the meat is processed into about 350 corned beef or 235 cans of rendang.
“Usually we would be out of stock in less than a year considering Indonesia is a disaster-prone country and quick distribution of nutritious, ready-to-eat beef for displaced survivors is preferable to other instant food normally distributed during disasters,” Nurhasan said.
Meanwhile, the National Zakat Agency (Baznas) expects to slaughter 3,500 cattle this year by buying sacrificial animals from local breeders and distributing the meat to 70,000 families in poor and remote regions across Indonesia, after donators buy cattle through the agency’s online platform.
“By buying and slaughtering our sacrificial cattle on the spot in targeted areas, donators will help to empower local farmers and the meat could be distributed to local beneficiaries right away,” said Arifin Purwakanta, the president-director of Baznas.