Breathing room in Indo quota: NTCA

15 Jan, 2015 03:00 AM
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At this stage the smaller allocation isn't bothering the northern cattle industry

INDONESIA is cutting back on imports of live cattle from Australia early in 2015, announcing that it will release permits for the import of 100,000 head in the first quarter.

That's about 33,000 less than the numbers shipped to Indonesia in Q1 2014, but at this stage the smaller allocation isn't bothering the northern cattle industry.

After solid monsoon rains across the Northern Territory, sourcing cattle from flooded in stations will be an issue in coming weeks.

Even when waters subside, Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association (NTCA) chief executive Tracey Hayes believes that most exporting stations will be looking to consolidate after contributing to a near-record 600,000 head turnoff to Indonesia in 2014.

"I think people will be making most of the pasture growth and weight gain on their animals, and welcome the breathing space to do that," Ms Hayes said.

The reduction in import permits by Indonesia was expected, she added, in light of the nationalistic sentiments expressed by President Jokowi's new government.

"The president has 46 per cent control of the Parliament, so he has a challenging job ahead of him," Ms Hayes said. "The government's sentiments don't just apply to beef, they go across a range of commodities."

Indonesia’s own beef industry is capitalising on the new political climate to drive internal agendas.

The Jakarta Post reports that the Indonesian Cattle Breeders Association (Gappsi) is among the bodies looking for reforms.

Gappsi is arguing before the Investment Co-ordinating Board (BKPM) that government support is needed to boost Indonesia’s cattle breeding capacity, and lessen reliance on live cattle imports. It wants a five per cent import tax on heifers eliminated, and streamlined import protocols.

For its part, the NTCA believes the economics of breeding in Australia and fattening and slaughtering in Indonesia still make the best sense.

“The beef industry will continue to position itself to supply a range of quality products to Indonesia,” Ms Hayes said.

“As always looking forward to developing the relationships with senior officials in the department of Agriculture and Trade, and strengthening the ties between the two countries.”

Next week representatives of the NTCA go to Indonesia to select the next intake of Indonesian students for the Indonesia-Australia Pastoral Industry Student Program.

Developed in 2012, the program brings students studying agriculture-related disciplines to Australia to deepen their understanding of the local pastoral industry.

Previous programs have taken about 16 students, but that number is set to double in 2015.

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READER COMMENTS

Northern Exporter
15/01/2015 6:36:42 PM

I think this latest in a long line of disruptions to the live ex to Indonesia should re-prompt all in live ex to work harder to secure and expand our trade to China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia etc... so that Indonesia is not our main focus. There is plenty of opinion here that the training of the students from Indo is adding to the determination in Indo for self sufficiency. There are plenty of other countries that are emerging that are not as fastidious as the Indos and we should be moving as fast as we can in that direction to secure our future.
Alison Penfold
21/01/2015 10:39:59 AM

Thanks Northern Exporter. You will find live exporters working hard on extracting as much demand from markets in Vietnam and Malaysia as is possible given all the factors (eg currency) at play. Cambodia working to get supply chain established and with regard to China, still waiting for final green light on protocol. There is no standing still by anyone to provide the market diversity that supports exporter and producer live trade interests.

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