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Cattlemen tour Indonesia

UNDERSTANDING the impact of the live export ban and the beef cattle opportunities was the focus of a recent study tour to Indonesia.
Victorian Livestock Exchange (VLE) chief executive officer Wayne Osborne and Landmark Leongatha principal Eddie Hams represented the Victorian cattle industry on the tour.
The two men were invited to take part in the beef study tour of Indonesia, which was organised by National Australia Bank.
The group visited Bogor Agricultural University, which has an abattoir within its grounds as well as Tunggal Unggul Mandiri – the Indonesian feedlot company that hosted the tour.
“We visited three feedlots and two abattoirs and I was surprised at how clean they kept them. You could eat your lunch off the floors of the feedlots,” Mr Hams said.
“It was the trip of a lifetime as far as I am concerned, I learnt so much and got to see how another part of the world operates.”
Mr Osborne said one of the big things he took away from the trip was for him; it put a human face on the animal welfare issue.
“What needs to be remembered is Indonesia is trying to feed 250 million people. When the government banned exports, all of those people missed out on a vital part of their diet,” he said.
“It was a short sighted and myopic decision made by the then government.”
Mr Osborne said Indonesian law prevents the country importing cattle from anywhere other than Australia or New Zealand.
“There aren’t a lot of food options in Indonesia to begin with, so you can begin to appreciate their feelings towards the live export ban,” he said.
Mr Osborne said the Indonesian economy is going “gangbusters” with around 59 per cent of the population with savings, compared to just 25 per cent three years ago.
Mr Hams said the potential for Australian beef businesses is huge and the Indonesian government is keen to see joint ventures between both countries developed.
“It is one of the world’s most populous nations and is one of few markets where there is no competition from China or the United States,” he said.
“Live export is important to both countries and will help improve relationships beyond the agricultural sector. They want our cattle.”
Mr Osborne said the live export ban affected more than just relationships between Australia and Indonesia.
“When the ban was in place, the country was forced to consume around 20 per cent of their national herd,” he said.
“They can’t breed cattle at the same standard as Australia and by consuming so much of their own beef, it caused severe problems.”
Indonesian people currently consume on average 2.5 kilograms of beef per person per year, however people are being encouraged to eat more meat as a protein source.
“There is a great opportunity there. An increase by just one kilogram would mean an extra 1.5 million cattle a year,” Mr Osborne said.
“An increase to five kilograms per person would require an additional four million cattle.”
Mr Hams said that when the export ban was announced, the cattle on farms in northern Australia ready to go overseas were sent to the eastern seaboard instead.
“In around May this year, our market almost collapsed due to the influx of northern cattle on to the market,” he said.
“We are now starting to see the prices creeping up again, but we won’t see much more until after Christmas.”

Eye opener: Eddie Hams from Landmark Leongatha at a market in the suburbs of Jakarta that was holding an upcoming bull sale during a tour of Indonesia recently.

Eye opener: Eddie Hams from Landmark Leongatha at a market in the suburbs of Jakarta that was holding an upcoming bull sale during a tour of Indonesia recently.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=9285

Posted by on Nov 26 2013. Filed under Featured, Rural News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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