Indonesia ups beef import quota before Ramadan
INDONESIA'S Trade Ministry has announced a beef import quota of 27,400 tonnes, far above the Agriculture Ministry's recommendation of 10,000 tonnes, to curb rising prices in local markets.
The policy is a follow-up to President Joko Widodo's instruction to reduce beef prices from 110,000 rupiah (S$11) to 80,000 per kg ahead of Ramadan, which starts next week.
Trade Minister Thomas Lembong said the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) held an import quota for 10,000 tonnes of beef, state-owned firm Berdikari 5,000 tonnes, Jakarta administration-owned firm Darmajaya 500 tonnes, with the remainder for private importers.
"We will import the beef from various countries," he said in Jakarta on Tuesday. He refused to mention the countries involved but said that Indonesia wanted to diversify beef-import sources from places other than Australia.
Ramadan and Aidilfitri are two major Islamic religious events in Indonesia during which demand for staple foods and other products usually soar.
To maintain reasonable prices at the consumer level and improve farmers' welfare, the government has set minimum farmers' selling prices. Onions have been set at 15,000 rupiah per kg, medium-quality rice at 7,300 rupiah, and sugar at 9,100 rupiah.
The government has asked two state-owned companies, PT Perkebunan Nusantara and PT Rajawali Nusantara Indonesia, to import 381,000 tonnes of raw sugar to be processed into refined sugar.
In a joint press briefing with Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman and the trade minister, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno said the government expected to see food prices decrease by the end of the first week of Ramadan.
"We are committed to maintaining the stability of staple food supplies and prices, especially onion, rice, sugar and beef during Ramadan," she said.
THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK