December 28, 2020


Australia conducts research into the impact of Indonesia's buffalo meat imports


To measure the current impact of Indian buffalo meat (IBM) on the fresh beef trade in Indonesia, the Livestock Export Program (LEP) is undertaking a research project to build on the surveys it carried out in the early days of IBM importation, Farm Weekly reported.

The Indonesian Government started importing frozen IBM in 2016 to provide its people access to affordable nutrition, and as part of its ongoing focus on greater food security.

It is now estimated that about 75% of IBM in Indonesia is sold at wet markets, competing directly with fresh beef from locally processed Australian and domestic cattle.

The threat to Australia's cattle industry from IBM, and the work being done to better understand the impact, was discussed in an article in Livecorp's 2020 cattle research, development and extension update:


Indonesia is Australia's top live cattle export market and about 90% of the beef is sold at wet markets.

The distribution of IBM through wet markets is assumed to exist because of demand from meat sellers, with surveys in wet markets in 2017-18 indicating some of those sellers mix or substitute fresh beef with IBM, as well as other products, as they can obtain higher profits compared to genuine fresh beef.

Research will be conducted in very traditional central markets, as well as the more modern markets in the Greater Jakarta area, and also in Medan, Sumatra where IBM is in high supplies.

The project will look at the drivers for consumer decisions when they are buying fresh beef in the wet market. This includes non-household consumers who buy beef on a daily basis for their small restaurant or home-based catering businesses, and are estimated to account for 70% of people who buy fresh beef in wet markets.

The LEP also wants to identify whether there are factors that influence their purchase decisions besides price, and gauge their awareness that some sellers may be thawing frozen meat, including IBM, and substituting it for fresh beef, and how much this matters to them.

New data will also be gathered on volumes of IBM sold to small restaurants and food service through wet markets, factors affecting the purchasing decisions of distributors and stall holders, and attitudes towards beef and IBM more generally.

Project outcomes and recommendations will enable the LEP to make informed decisions about the value proposition of future activities and investments in marketing, research or other interventions in the fresh beef market.

Results from the research will be available in 2021.

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