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Market Madness

Government Accused of Poor Planning in Trying to Control Meat and Agricultural Imports

(3/10/2013) As reported by Bisnis Bali, the government is accused of a failure to contemplate the effects of its food policy decisions, as exemplified by recent decision banning the import of beef into Indonesia, making Indonesia among the most expensive place to purchase beef.

With beef prices exceeding Rp. 80,000 (US$8) per kilogram, observers are saying the high prices demonstrate the abysmally poor planning of government agencies.

In Bali the negative effects of the ban on beef imports have been far reaching. High beef prices have seen farmers sell almost all the cattle, including even breeding stocks. Cattle populations on the Island are at an all time low. The chief of the Livestock Service (Dinas Paternakan) in Tabanan, Ni Ketut Warsiki, said: “Farmers are selling their cattle, but they are not buying new breeding stock because of high prices.”

Poor public policy is also reflected in the cost and availability of other agricultural products. Since January, the government has banned the import of 13 horticultural products. As a result, the cost of many produce items have skyrocketed at local markets.

The 13 items banned from importation during the period January – June 2013 include potatoes, cabbage, carrots, chilies, pineapples, melons, bananas, mangoes, papaya, during, chrysanthemums, orchids and heliconia.

The newspaper report points to chilies costs that have risen by a factor of 10-15 time to as much as Rp. 150,000 per kilogram. 

Despite claiming to be an agricultural county, Indonesia is now a major importer of rice, vegetables and fruit further underlying the widespread perception that Indonesia lacks a comprehensive plan and strategy in agricultural food production.