Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Live Cattle Trade - Farcical or Fabulous?

Over the past two years this business is best seen as farcical.  When Australia was unable to send live cattle - by Australian government decree - and then Indonesia did not want them.

Recently it was announced at meetings between Prime Minister Rudd and Indonesian President Yudhoyono, the development of a A$60 million proposal to assist with development of the Indonesian beef industry with implications for additional animals going into the live export trade, sourced from northern Australia.

That latter part implies an easing of Indonesian restrictions on animal numbers moving in the supply chain.

Yes, the Indonesian authorities recently allowed a "bring forward" of some numbers of animals from the latter part of the year, enabling some animals to be shipped prior to Ramadan, although it seems no significant change in overall numbers is occurring, as yet.  These recently shipped animals are unlikely to be ready for slaughter for some time, and probably well after the end of Ramadan.  The Idul Fitri period after Ramadan is when demand for beef is very high, and logically more animals should have been shipped earlier if there was to be much influence on the already high beef prices around Jakarta for this high demand period.  More boxed beef may be imported too. 

And there have been noises in the media that Indonesia will likely purchase cattle properties in northern Australia to assist them with live cattle numbers.  Remember though, that any local producer is probably going to be subject to local Australian regulations too, and will the Indonesian owned cattle producer /exporter be exempt from Indonesian import restrictions and regulations?
typical cattle being fed in holding areas prior to live export

Really..........where is all this going?  Nowhere?  There has been strong links developed between industry groups in both north Australia and Indonesia, probably even strengthened over the past two years.  They recognise their interdependence............and the red tape that is in the way of increased live cattle trade development, in any form.

This process is too slow, and there is little information flowing publicly from both governments.

The live cattle trade was fabulous, with obvious commercial and social benefits to both countries previously .........and is now farcical!

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