July 29, 2008


Indonesia to revise cattle import policy

Indonesia is about to revise its cattle and beef import policy to create a favourable price competition for the country.


The policy in question refers to the "Arrangement of Cattle Product Imports from Countries Affected with Mouth and Nail Disease".


The revision was actually not urgent unless there is a price hike, according to Minister of Agriculture Anton Apriyantono. However, he said a revision would be urgent because the fasting month, Christmas and New Year were drawing near.


"We have to make decision immediately to increase supply in a bid to create competition and stabilise prices," Apriyantono said.


The revision will allow countries with regional infections of mouth and nail disease to export their cattle to Indonesia, as only cattle from those specific infected regions will be banned.


Sofjan Sudardjat, former director general of Animal Husbandry and head of Expert Board of the Animal and Plant Protection Society, do not support the revision.


Sudardjat said many countries had suffered great losses from the disease, with Indonesia losing IDR11 trillion (US$1.2 billion). He said Indonesia needed 100 years to be fully disease-free, therefore, it is unadvisable for the country to open its doors to meat imports from affected countries.


Brazil is a potential exporter should the revision push through and Sudardjat warned that the type of disease in Brazil was different to the one in Indonesia and the government should not revise the policy without a thorough review.


Indonesia consumes 350,000-400,000 tonnes of beef annually.

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