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Indonesia may increase cattle imports up to 66 pct

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Reuters / Indonesia plans to approve an up to 66 per cent jump in live cattle import permits for next year, a Trade Ministry official said Dec. 20, as Southeast Asia’s biggest economy looks to avoid the crippling shortages and price spikes seen this year.

Beef and cattle imports have been a controversial issue in Indonesia this year after an import corruption scandal tainted the ruling coalition government, which was then involved in a diplomatic spat with main supplier Australia.

“In 2014 we plan to allow live cattle imports of 722,000-750,000 head, of which around 25 per cent have to be productive female cattle,” Bachrul Chairi, director general of foreign trade at the Trade Ministry, told reporters.

This year Indonesia issued import permits for 452,000 cattle head, Chairi added.

In an effort to ease future food inflation after a beef shortage, Indonesia loosened rules on imports, all but abandoning a 2014 self-sustainability drive.

Earlier this week, Indonesia’s agriculture minister said beef and cattle consumption would hit 560,000 tonnes in 2014, up from 549,000 tonnes this year.

Indonesia only allows beef and cattle imports from either Australia, the world’s No. 3 beef exporter, or New Zealand.

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