Indonesia reportedly making sweeping changes to live cattle trade

The Indonesian Government has reportedly “abolished” its quota system for importing cattle, allowing companies to ship in livestock provided they commit to the country’s new breeding program.

The Jakarta Globe is reporting Indonesia has introduced a new trade rule, which stipulates that one of every six imported cattle from Australia must be for breeding purposes.

“It’s gone. There are no more quotas,” Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita told local media.

“If [companies] want to import, they will likely be allowed to, provided they import breeding [cattle] because this country needs a [cattle] population.”

It is understood two companies have already been granted approval to import a combined total of 300,000 feeder cattle through to the end of 2018, because those importers have agreed to import 60,000 cattle for breeding.

Rural news in your inbox?

Subscribe for the national headlines of the day.

ABC Rural understands those permits were issued at the weekend, but other importers are arguing against the changes, saying it would be bad for business.

Some exporters have been told the breeder rule will be tightened to 20 per cent, meaning one in every five cattle exported to Indonesia must be for breeding purposes.

David Stoate, from Anna Plains station in far north Western Australia, said if the breeder protocol becomes a reality it could cause issues.

“Certainly it’s exciting to hear that import quotas could be abolished, but in this case, the cure might be worse than the disease.

“The whole idea [of importing more breeders] raises a lot of questions which are difficult to answer.

“We send a lot of heifers to Indonesia now as feeders rather than breeders.

“But the logistics are difficult on the Indonesian end because they just don’t have the land to use for breeding cattle.

“The live trade between the two countries has evolved because we are good at breeding cattle in northern Australia and Indonesia is good at feeding them, and I think that’s what both countries need to focus on.”

The Indonesian Feedlotter Association told the Jakarta Globe it was “unhappy” with the new rule, saying it is unfeasible because feedlots will quickly fill with breeding cattle and calves, leaving insufficient room to accommodate cattle for slaughter.

“They will be uneconomical in no time,” the association’s executive director Joni Liano said.

Earlier this month the Indonesian Government indicated it would like to see 700,000 head of Australian cattle imported in 2017.

ABC Rural has contacted Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce’s office for comment.

Source: ABC Net. Date: 27 October 2016