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Australian Current Affairs

Australian farmers want to establish Indonesian abattoir for Asian sales

Australian CattleThe West Australian Farmers Federation is hopeful the state’s live-cattle exporters can establish an abattoir in Indonesia to build markets throughout Asia.

Such a move would reduce the need for producers to rely on Indonesian specifications, including the maximum 350kg weight rule for each imported beast.

Yesterday WA farmers were underwhelmed by news that Indonesia’s third-quarter live-export quota for cattle was being brought forward from July to next month, saying this might only create more difficulties at the end of the year.

WA Farmers Federation president Dale Park, a sheep and cattle farmer from the wheatbelt town of Badgingarra, said farmers in the state’s north were not experiencing the difficulties of their north Queensland colleagues because recent seasons had been “reasonable”.

But Mr Park said they were still battling because of the sharp drop in exports resulting from the interruption to trade in 2011. Mr Park said annual exports were down from about 267,000 to less than 80,000. He said cattle producers were looking for certainty and for ways to export cattle heavier than 350kg, the upper limit for Indonesian buyers. “In some of the good years they have up in the north, the cattle get to 350kg at a pretty young age so we need to find another market for those,” he said.

“We are talking to the Indonesians at the moment — this would be a partnership between Australian capital, Indonesians and the Chinese might be interested. The farmers federation is facilitating.”

Mr Park said he believed the bureaucracy charged with assuring quality, the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System, needed reform as it was slow, often involved duplication and was costly. Producers had told him it was costing between $8 and $40 per head of cattle.

“At the moment we are working with industry to try to get ESCAS a little bit more affordable,” he said.

“We know of one who had to be audited five times in a quarter because it’s got five exporters.

“We want it to be a quality assurance program rather than having a bureaucratic department running it.”

Source: The Australian – Farmers look for Asia sales with Indonesia abattoir

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