WA’s beef exporters still trying to recover from the live export ban to Indonesia have welcomed a crackdown on corruption in Indonesia’s beef import trade.
Last week Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested high-profile Indonesian politician Lutfi Hasan Ishaq and two directors of meat import company Indoguna Utama over bribery claims.
It was alleged the company offered bribes to Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) president Mr Ishaq in an attempt to avoid the country’s beef import quota.
The quota, introduced in 2010, has resulted in severe reductions in the amount of meat coming into the country from Australia.
Indonesia’s Agriculture Ministry has been at the centre of the country’s efforts to reduce the reliance on Australian live cattle and imported beef and control import quotas.
Pastoralists and Graziers Association spokesperson Sheldon Mumby welcomed the Indonesian Government’s actions.
“Corruption and allegations of corruption are nothing new, particularly in the container trade,” he said. “It needs to be stopped, because it affects prices and the supply chain.”
WA meat exporter Geoff Bull lost more than a $1 million last year after containers of frozen beef sat on a Jakarta wharf for five months in a dispute over the validity of import permits.
He welcomed the arrests. “Things are changing. I hope this will be the start of many more heads to roll in the meat import industry in Indonesia,” he said.
“In this case the importers Indogune, who are not one of our clients, are a large reputable company with huge infrastructure such as cold stores, delivery trucks, meat factories — and they have no product to sell or use. The Indonesian policy of self-sufficiency in beef has resulted in huge cuts in meat import quotas. Many smaller companies are out of business.”
Since Australia’s temporary ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia in 2011, the annual quota for boxed beef from Australia has reduced to 32,000 tonnes.