Live cattle ban left scars, says AACo boss
"Cattle and beef self-sufficiency has recently become an important policy objective in Indonesia... " 2010
Indonesia had been contemplating self sufficiency way before the Animals Australia/4 Corners exposé, as this ANU paper 'Home grown: cattle and beef self sufficiency in Indonesia', written in 2010 clearly shows. Yet even the chief executive of the Australian Agricultural Company continues to spout the untruths and disinformation that has become so common amongst supporters and proponents of live exports. SLE
From The Australian, by Andrew Main
January 16, 2013 12:00AM
THE federal government damaged its long term relations with Indonesia by the unintended consequences of banning live cattle exports back in 2011, according to David Farley, chief executive of the Australian Agricultural Company.
The exports were suspended after a public outcry following revelations of cruel practices in some Indonesian abattoirs.
"When that happened the Indonesian government decided to pursue a policy of self sufficiency in beef,'' Mr Farley said, "and domestic beef prices in Indonesia rose so much that farmers have been selling breeding cattle for slaughter."
Speaking after a panel discussion on global food security at the Asian Financial Forum, he said the inevitable result would be that Indonesian cattle stocks will run down.
"But meanwhile, the number of live cattle we are selling into Indonesia dropped from around 750,000 head a year in 201, to around 250,000 last year and the Indonesians are predicting around 200,000 in 2013,'' he said.
Mr Farley said that while logic would suggest the trade will revive, "they now have this desire to be self sufficient in beef that they didn't have before, and there's no guarantee they'll come back to us''.
"And if they do call upon us, Australia will have been out of production for a number of years,'' he said, referring to the lack of research into developing strains of cattle that can survive extreme weather conditions that are becoming more prevalent in northern Australia.
Mr Farley said that the current federal government appeared to have a "let them eat cake" attitude to food trade with nearby markets rather than working on "our sovereign responsibility to be good neighbours in the region''.
"Unfortunately it's not in the DNA of the current minority government and it's not in the purview of the greater urban democracy in Australia,'' he said.
Mr Farley said that Australia can currently feed around 80 million people, but that it had the capacity to feed 150 million and, if it exported its expertise as well, "we have the capacity to feed 500 million''.
But, he said, there was a mindset that placed little importance on that capacity, which is becoming ever more necessary as the global population keeps increasing.
"People in Australia seem to be more ready to listen to Tim Flannery than Bono or Bob Geldof, both of whom have strong views on creating an efficient global food business.''
Mr Farley said that energy uncertainty had seen the price of corn pushed up to excessive levels to create ethanol in some countries, even though "you can park a car when the energy runs out but you still have to eat".