KULONPROGO, JOGJAKARTA (RADARJOGJA.CO.ID) – Farmers and local cattle traders in Kulonprogo, Jogjakarta, are complaining about weak sales of beef cattle over the past few months. They believe the weak demand was triggered by the government’s policy of importing buffalo meat from India.
“The drop has been felt since the start of 2017. We’re worried this is going to keep going for some time,” said Olan Suparlan, farmer and cattle trader from Blimbing Hamlet, Sukoreno, Sentolo yesterday (20/4).
Besides market demand, the weakness of the commodity has also been felt in livestock sale prices. He said per cow prices have fallen up to 15 percent or about Rp 2 million (AUD $198). “We can’t compete with cheaper imported meat,” he complained.
Farmers can now only rely on local Jogjakarta provincial market demand even though its potential isn’t as good as the market in Jakarta and West Java. At Ambarketawang Market in Gamping for example of every 100 demanded at most only 50 to 60 are selling.
The psychological pressure on farmers is exacerbated by the size of operating costs they have to carry every day which averages Rp 20,000 to 25,000 (AUD $1.99 to $2.48) per head per day which is a situation that encourages cattle farmers to not want to maintain large numbers. Olan in fact usually has a stock of 100 head but now only has 15. “If you have plenty of stock but they don’t sell, you lose money,” he said.
Olan feels something does not fit with the meat importation policy of the central government. He said the measure is also contrary to the meat self-sufficiency program being promoted by President Joko Widodo. “Meat self-sufficiency assistance is useless if the sale price is actually pushed down by importing meat from overseas,” he said. This causes farmers to lose interest in maintaining this kind of animal because the sale price of cattle doesn’t match the maintenance cost.
As is generally known, the price of imported buffalo meat reaches Rp 65,000 (AUD $6.45) per kilogram which is much cheaper than the average local beef price set at Rp 100,000 to Rp 115,000 (AUD $9.93 to $11.42) per kilogram. “A big difference, and if this goes on even with the regular demand every year for Eid al-Adha, farmers might just not want to raise cattle if the price is low,” he said.
Olan’s complaint directly contradicts the opinion of the head of Farming in the Kulonprogo district Agriculture and Food Service Nur Syamsu Hidayat. Nur Syamsu claimed the policy of importing buffalo meat from India has no impact on Kulonprogo. Even so the service is continuing efforts to encourage farmers to increase the quantity and quality of cattle.
“We’re running the Mandatory Cattle Pregnancy Special Program (Upsus Siwab) from the Ministry of Agriculture. Measures include assistance with artificial insemination and handing of reproductive problems, all carried out so local cattle can compete with imported cattle,” he explained.