Herman, Jakarta – Meat imports have failed to drive down soaring beef prices amid the Ramadan season, according to the Indonesian Traditional Markets Trader Association or Ikappi.
Ikappi chair Abdullah Mansuri said meat prices were still skyrocketing, even reaching between Rp 145,000 ($9.56) and Rp 150,000 per kilogram albeit the imports.
"We have to admit that the solutions that the government has come up with do not fix the problem, such as the imports of buffalo meat and beef from Brazil, because prices are still high," Ikappi chair Abdullah Mansuri said on BTV's night talk show Obrolan Malam Fristian on Friday.
Mansuri said that the government should take on a more comprehensive approach by paying attention to the entire supply chain.
"The prosperity of the farmers, and how it goes starting from the farmers to the slaughterhouse and then into the market. The government must sit down and talk about this," Mansuri said.
"So they do not assume that by having enough stock or imports, everything would be fine, no. The people want to have fresh products, freshly cut meat," Mansuri said.
Data inaccuracy and policy inconsistency
Rochadi Tawaf, an agriculture expert at Padjadjaran University, attributed the ever-repeating problem of skyrocketing beef prices amidst Ramadan to inaccurate data on the government side and inconsistent policies.
According to Rochadi, the inaccuracy stems from the use of different data collection methods. Rochadi also urged the government to implant microchips in the cows for more accurate data on the livestock.
"By policy inconsistency, the Agriculture Ministry has designed a roadmap to make Indonesia Asia's foodshed by 2045, with the assumption that it provides and imports 3.5 million brood cows in ten years, or about 350,000 brood cows a year. But none of these commitments are met, meaning that the government is not serious enough to deal with this beef issue. Because of budgetary problems, imports probably stood at around 10,000 cows a year," Rochadi said.
State logistics procurement agency is set to import 100,000 tons of frozen buffalo meat this year. State-owned food holding ID Food also plans to import a total of 100,000 tons of Brazilian beef.