September 17, 2008


Beef shortage prompts imports in Indonesia's West Java


A confluence of an ongoing beef shortage and an expected rise in consumption due to religious festivals could mean soaring demand in Indonesia's West Java province.


 The West Java Animal Husbandry Agency has requested businesses to import beef from Australia in order to meet soaring demand, which could increase up to 150 percent, during September and October, when consumption rises due to Ramadan and Idul Fitri.


Agency head, Rachmat Setiadi said , after attending an Idul Fitri logistics coordination meeting that demand for beef in the province for the period could reach 4,922 tonnes, while the market is supplying only 2,825 tonnes, including previous stocks and supplies from surrounding areas.


The province also sends some 500 tonnes to the nation's capital, Jakarta, worsening the shortage.


The agency predicted that the province would need to import at least 3,176 tonnes of beef.


Currently prices have not risen significantly from the usual Rp 60,000/kg (US$6.32).


Officials were surprised that beef demand would rise at a month when Muslims, which makes up the majority of the population, are fasting.


During the fasting month, Muslims fast during the day and have celebratory meals when they break their fast at night.


Besides beef, the province is also suffering from an egg shortage, which has seen prices rise 50 percent recently.


The province could only supply a third of the roughly 56,000 tonnes of eggs required during the two months and would be forced to import from other provinces.


Beef trading associations said the province should look at boosting local production and anticipating demand so there would not be sharp price increases due to shortages.

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