Govt urged to improve local beef industry

by Desy Nurhayati on 2012-12-29

Hotels and restaurants using imported beef have urged the government to improve the local beef industry to ensure that it can supply high quality beef following the reduction of the imported beef quota.

The government’s decision has significantly impacted on some hotels and restaurants in Bali that have complained the government is yet to improve the standards of local products while insisting on cutting the import quota.

I Gusti Agung Gede Agung, executive sous chef St. Regis Bali, said he was concerned that next year it would be more difficult to get imported beef, as the quota would be decreased further.

Previously, he said that during the year-end peak season, he had encountered problems receiving all the products he had ordered and had to go to more than one supplier.

“I think the situation will be more difficult next year because there might be a further reduction and even an elimination of the quotas of more imported items,” said the chef de cuisine of Kayu Putih Restaurant.

“If this happens, we might have to eliminate some foods from our lists because we will no longer be able to provide them,” he added.

He said the reduced quota of imported beef should have been balanced by efforts to improve the local beef industry by educating local breeders and implementing technologies from advanced countries that have been able to reach self-sufficiency in beef.

For next year, the government has decided that the quota will be decreased further to 80,000 tons, comprising 267,000 cows and 32,000 tons of beef. The beef is mostly used for hotels, restaurants, catering and the frozen food industry.

Previously, Agriculture Minister Suswono said that the government was committed to fulfilling beef needs by using domestic products and cutting imports. To achieve this self-sufficiency, the government would continue to improve the quality of slaughterhouses, especially in areas with the highest cow population.

According to the Indonesian Association of Beef Importers, the import quota for beef has kept decreasing without being balanced by an adequate supply from local breeders. On the other hand, demand has kept increasing due to the higher consumption of beef.

In 2010, the import quota was 120,000 tons. In 2011, it decreased to 100,000 tons, and this year, it was cut to 85,000 tons. However, this year there was an additional allocation of 7,000 tons.

Beef needs during this year-end and for early next year will be fulfilled by the remaining import quota of around 2,000 tons of frozen food and 2,600 cows, as well as from local supplies.

However, Bali will likely receive a higher quota of imported beef next year of around 2,000 tons, increasing from last year’s quota of 1,200 tons.

“We estimate that for next year, we still need to import around 2,000 tons of beef at most. The total need of beef in Bali is around 8,000 tons per year,” said Putu Sumantra, head of the provincial Animal Husbandry Agency.

During the last several years, the quota for Bali was usually between 1,000 to 2,000 tons per year, he added.

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