Indonesia wants more live cattle


Indonesia will import another 50,000 head of cattle in response to public anger over high beef prices.

Just weeks after Jakarta shocked the Australian cattle sector with its decision to dramatically slash the import quota this quarter, officials held an unscheduled meeting at the state palace on Monday night to act on the growing consumer outcry.

Co-ordinating Minster for Economy, Sofyan Djalil, said the state logistics agency, Bulog, was approved to import 50,000 more slaughter cattle.

However, the measure was "very short term" Sofyan said, as quoted by Indonesian website

It was also decided that Bulog would take charge of beef import permits until the end of the year, and that President Joko Widodo would examine arrangements beyond that.

There have been concerns that importers have manipulated supply to keep beef expensive weeks after Ramadan, when it's traditionally high.

Beef was selling for up to Rp 140,000 ($A14) per kilo in Jakarta markets on Monday, about Rp 50,000 ($A5) per kilo above normal.

This prompted some butchers in Jakarta and West Java to go on strike.

In addition to moving on imports, Jakarta will order feedlot managers to release their stock, and Bulog will release its stock where product is scarce, the cabinet secretary said following the meeting.

When he announced its 50,000 quota for this quarter - down from 250,000 the previous quarter - Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel argued he was looking out for local producers and could raise the quota later if needed.