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Govt imports 145,000 tons of beef as prices soar

Tempo - March 20, 2024

Riri Rahayu (Antara), Jakarta – The government will bring in 145,000 tons of beef and extend the increase in the highest retail price (HET) for premium rice from Rp13,900 per kg to Rp14,900 per kg until April 2024, to overcome price jolts in Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr 2024.

Head of the National Food Agency (Bapanas) Arief Prasetyo Adi said beef imports from private entities are ongoing amid high prices. "We are awaiting [the imported beef] to come in during the second or third week of Ramadan. The amount approved is 145,000 tons (of beef)," said Arief at the Presidential Palace Complex in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The meat is imported from a number of countries, such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Apart from that, said Arief, there were imports of several hundred live cattle from Australia.

Beef prices have recently soared. Based on the price panel at the National Strategic Food Price Information Center (PIHPS) as of Wednesday, the price of quality 1 beef was recorded at Rp146,500 per kilogram. Meanwhile, the price of quality 2 beef is Rp136,500 per kilogram.

Secretary General of the Indonesian Meat Importers Association (Aspidi) Suhandri previously said that the recent soaring beef prices were due to delays in import permits from the Ministry of Trade. However, this accusation was later denied by the Minister of Trade, Zulkifli Hasan or Zulhas.

The meat import scheme has changed this year, with Bapanas determining the yearly quota of import beforehand before import request could be submitted to the Ministry of Trade

Meanwhile, medium and premium rice prices are still rising.

Head of Bapanas Arief Prasetyo Adi said that President Jokowi had approved the HET relaxation with an increase in the price of rice of IDR 1,000 per kg to be extended for the next month.

"Bapanas conveyed to the President that the agency has decided to extend the price relaxation from Rp13,99 to Rp14,900, as approved by President Joko Widodo.

Arief explained that the HET relaxation for premium rice had been implemented temporarily from March 10 to March 23, 2024. This measure is extended to maintain rice stocks on the market, both in modern retail and traditional markets. It was also conducted to encourage the price of dry threshed paddy to fall ahead of the harvest season in March and April.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1847362/govt-imports-145000-tons-of-beef-as-prices-soa