Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies

Australian–Indonesian live cattle trade — what future?

By Ray Trewin

Australian live cattle exports were a growing $1 billion trade from northern Australia to Indonesia for finishing and slaughter for Indonesian consumers. This all changed in recent years with the trade being disrupted by a series of constraints which have shrunk the trade and raised uncertainty. Will it ever get back on trend or continue to shrink and disappear? Greater integration between Australia’s live cattle trade and Indonesia’s cattle feeding and processing industries through investment and technological transfer offers the potential of not only better meeting Indonesia’s beef security but also strong processed meat opportunities in rich neighbours to the benefit of both countries. A continuation of the recent volatile and uncertain trade will be detrimental to both countries, with Indonesia losing a food-secure, reliable livestock supply to which value was added, and Australia a significant industry for one more dependent on costlier markets.

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