Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Buffalo Stampede Threatens World’s Biggest Live Cattle Trade

Indonesians’ growing appetite for red meat needed to make rendang curries and to flavor noodle soups is putting the world’s biggest seaborne cattle trade at risk. For the first time, Indian frozen buffalo meat is legally available in the world’s fourth-most populous nation. The sales, which started last month, are already causing anxiety on the sprawling Australian ranches that supply Indonesia with more than half a million live cattle a year. The threat to Australia’s market share “is very real and we’d be foolish to think otherwise,” Tracey Hayes, chief executive of the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association, said from Darwin, where the bulk of Australia’s live cattle exports are shipped to Indonesia. Indian buffalo “is a much cheaper product,” she said. Australia relies on Indonesia to buy more than half its live cattle exports -- earning A$549 million ($417 million) from the live trade last year. Australia has sought to repair its reputation as a reliable supplier after abruptly banning live shipments in 2011 due to allegations of cruelty in Indonesian abattoirs. Indian buffalo meat sells for as little as the state-food agency set price of 65,000 rupiah ($5) a kilogram in so-called wet markets in Jakarta, compared with about 115,000 rupiah a kilogram for beef from Australia in more upscale farmers’ markets. It’s becoming increasingly popular in Asia, and India is now a major supplier to Vietnam and Malaysia -- two countries that are also significant buyers of Australian live cattle...more

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