Joyce to visit Jakarta for cattle talks

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce will promote the mutual benefits of an annual permit system for Australia’s live cattle trade with Indonesia in a visit to Jakarta.


Mr Joyce on Tuesday begins talks with Indonesian ministers and will visit to an Elders abattoir near the capital.

Australia’s trade has resumed as normal this month after Jakarta cut its order to only 50,000 cattle between July and September – 200,000 less than expected.

The move, which Indonesia’s government said was motivated by self-sufficiency ambitions, backfired, driving up the beef price even after Ramadan, which is the high point of an annual price cycle.

Australian cattlemen are now busily filling Indonesia’s request for 200,000 head before December.

Mr Joyce will continue talks on moving to an annual permit system that would remove the uncertainties for both producers and buyers.

Also visiting Jakarta is Tracey Hayes, chief executive officer of the NT Cattlemen’s Association, who says the change would benefit the entire supply chain.

“There’s a certain lead time for preparing your product for market and it’s very difficult to hold stock over if those permits are delayed,” she told AAP.

“Producers are left with no other option than to find alternative markets if the announcements aren’t timely.

“But the challenges are also the same for feedlotters and for processors and vendors in the wet market, who rely on a consistency of supply to maintain their pricing regimes and the integrity of their business plans.

“What we are looking for is some stability and some consistency, and we think that the price will settle once we have that.”

While in Jakarta, Mr Joyce will also meet young Indonesian cattle workers who have trained in the NT.

Jakarta’s push for food self-sufficiency has so far mostly caused price volatility for consumers.

There are reports millions of breeder chickens will be culled starting from this week, because although the beef price spike drove more chicken consumption, supply still outstrips demand by up to 30 per cent.