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Indonesia eyes Australian investors for cattle breeding scheme
Publication Date : 19-08-2013
Indonesia expects to lure Australian investors to invest in developing an integrated cattle breeding system in the country’s oil palm plantations to boost both the cattle herdand palm oil production.
Agriculture Minister Suswono said he would try attracting investors to breed cattle in farms built in Indonesia’s oil palm plantations, during a business forum to be held this week in Australia.
“We have 9 million hectares of oil palm plantations nationwide. Imagine how much we could increase the national cattle herd to meet the mounting needs of beef producers if we place two cows in every hectare of at least 4 million hectares of existing oil palm plantations,” he said over the weekend.
Suswono said the government needed at least 8 million additional live cattle to achieve the goal of having nearly half of existing oil palm plantations integrated with cattlebreeding, supported by investors from cattle-exporting countries, like Australia.
The ministry has been promoting an integrated cattle breeding system in oil palm plantations since last year in its attempt to attain beef self-sufficiency by 2014, although it is now scrutinizing whether or not to continue the self-sufficiency program, following recent shortages of beef supplies and soaring prices after import limitations.
Waste from both oil palm trees and cattle is expected to enhance each other’s productivity.
Oil palm midribs, according to the ministry’s research and development directorate general, can be used to feed cows after being processed in a chopper machine.
Oil palm fronds, usually treated as waste, are said to contain nutrition good for cattle.
Cattle waste, on the other hand, can be used to fertilize oil palm plants.
The combined cycle of usage of cattle and oil palm waste is also expected to reduce wastes from oil palm cultivation and cattle breeding.
Such an integrated cattle-breeding system has been implemented by several firms, like state-owned enterprises PT Rajawali Nusantara Indonesia (RNI) and PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) VI.
RNI, which has a herd of 10,000 cattle in its palm oil and sugarcane plantations, is aiming to raise a total of 20,000 cattle by 2014, with 15,000 of them bred in its oil palm plantations.
PTPN VI has bred 40 cattle in its oil palm plantations in Batanghari, Jambi, since last year.
Indonesia is the world’s largest palm oil producer with an annual output of over 26 million tons, and 9 million hectares of plantation.
The archipelago, on the other hand, relies heavily on imports to meet the domestic need of 500,000 tons of beef per annum.
The government aimns to attain beef self-sufficiency in 2014.
It had earlier limited imports to only 80,000 tons of beef — which comprised of 267,000 live cattle and 32,000 tons of beef — before eventually importing 24,500 live cattle and appointing the State Logistic Agency (Bulog) to bring in an additional 3,000 tons of frozen meat due to hiking prices and supply shortages.
Although the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) has yet to officially announce this year’s cattle survey, media reports say the agency’s interim survey result showed that the country had only around 12 million live cattle, a significant decrease compared to 14.8 million in 2011.