The Courier-Mail

NO BULL

Stakes are high in In­done­sia as Aussie beef im­port cuts mean fran­tic lo­cal chefs can’t meet vo­ra­cious de­mand

- JES­SICA MARSZALEK

IN­DONE­SIAN restau­rants have run out of beef and cus­tomers are fu­ri­ous af­ter a four­day beef ban, sparked by a cut to Aus­tralian cat­tle im­ports.

As the fi­nal day of butcher protests dragged by, the coun­try’s trade min­is­ter last night lost his job fol­low­ing public anger over rock­et­ing meat prices and short­ages.

The up­heaval was caused by a shock de­ci­sion last month to dras­ti­cally cut the num­ber of cat­tle be­ing im­ported from Aus­tralia from 250,000 to 50,000 this quar­ter.

And de­spite an ex­tra 50,000 slaugh­ter-ready cat­tle now be­ing or­dered, Jakarta traders are still strug­gling to main­tain busi­ness with­out Aussie beef.

The In­done­sian min­is­ter’s sack­ing came as Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Barnaby Joyce warned it was “vi­tally im­por­tant for … af­ford­able food prices for In­done­sia that this long-es­tab­lished and ben­e­fi­cial trade be main­tained”.

Res­tau­ra­teur Ery Us­man, who owns the Barangin Padang res­tau­rant in Jakarta, said the butcher protests had seen him run out of beef.

“I can’t get any beef in the mar­ket so far, so we don’t pro­vide any beef menu in my res­tau­rant at the mo­ment,” he said. “I hope to­mor­row I can get the beef again.”

He said there was wide spec­u­la­tion the short­age was re­lated to cuts to Aus­tralian im­ports, although he just wanted the prob­lem fixed.

“Most of the menu here is made from beef, so we re­ally need it and the cus­tomers are also look­ing for beef,” he said. “I hope (the) Gov­ern­ment can solve this prob­lem soon.”

Jakarta Gover­nor Ba­suki Tja­haja Pur­nama has been scathing of the Gov­ern­ment’s han­dling of the quota sys­tem, telling the Jakarta Globe it was “ba­sic sup­ply and de­mand”.

“If de­mand is higher than sup­ply, then the price will go up,” he said.

“We’re just not ready to be self-suf­fi­cient in beef sup­ply.”

Trade Min­is­ter An­drew Robb will lead a 200-strong busi­ness del­e­ga­tion to In­done­sia in Novem­ber where he’s ex­pected to push for a new an­nual quota sys­tem that would put an end to the volatil­ity in trade for farm­ers and In­done­sian con­sumers.

He also has been lob­by­ing In­done­sia to in­crease its cat­tle or­der in re­cent weeks.

Pres­i­dent of the Aus­trali­abased In­done­sia In­sti­tute Ross Tay­lor pre­dicted there was more trou­ble to come.

He said the new Joko Wi­dodo-led Gov­ern­ment was still strug­gling to gov­ern prop­erly and its na­tion­al­is­tic view on self-suf­fi­ciency of food did not stack up when it came to the model it al­ready had in place with Aus­tralia.

 ??  ?? MA­JOR BEEF: Barangin Padang res­tau­rant owner Ery Us­man has taken beef dishes off his menu.
MA­JOR BEEF: Barangin Padang res­tau­rant owner Ery Us­man has taken beef dishes off his menu.
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