A taste of Indonesia
11 September 2015
Six beef producers stepped away from their properties and into the live export market this month, for an MLA/LiveCorp-funded tour to Indonesia.
Northern Territory producers Allison and Greg Dakin, Queensland’s Ross and Natalie Olive, and Ben Mills and Caitlin U’Ren from WA saw all aspects of the beef supply chain, including:
- a wet market, where fresh meat is sold for traditional Indonesian cooking
- a high-end supermarket selling Australian boxed beef, primarily for the hotel, catering and restaurant sectors
- highly efficient feedlots in Lampung, Sumatera and West Java
- the Elders abattoir in West Java, one of the many modern facilities in Indonesia that produces their own frozen and chilled meat
- the TUM abattoir in West Java, which is a well-engineered ESCAS abattoir that ranked the top of its class for cleanliness.
The live export market is critical for Greg and Allison Dakin, who manage two Western Grazing Company breeding properties – Wave Hill, 400km south of Katherine, and Rocklands Station, which straddles the NT/Queensland border near Camooweal.
They direct 90% of Wave Hill’s annual turn-off and 30% of steers from Rocklands Station to Indonesia, so enjoyed the opportunity to see this market.
Allison said the biggest surprise of the tour was the cleanliness of meat processed for wet markets.
“After previously seeing wet markets in Asia, I went in thinking that there was no way I would ever eat meat at a wet market,” she said.
“After seeing the impeccable clean standards at the TUM feedlot and abattoir, I changed my mind and would happily buy and consume the product.”
The producers sampled traditional Indonesian meat dishes, such as bakso balls – ping pong ball sized meat balls. Around 60 tonnes of meat a day is used to make bakso balls in Indonesia, and total consumption is 868 million bakso balls a year.
While Allison admitted the bakso balls were an acquired taste, she found the contrast interesting between the Indonesian craving for any form of protein compared to the Australian preference for healthy, clean food.
Importantly, the tour gave the Australian producers a first-hand insight into the challenges and opportunities they face in the live export market.
“I think one of the biggest challenges going forward for Indonesia will probably be the lack of infrastructure to cope with the number of cattle required to meet their protein needs,” Allison said.
“There is a basic and congested transport system which prevents quick and efficient transport of boxed beef or live cattle.
However, she believed the opportunities far outweigh the challenges.
“The potential in Indonesia is amazing with a rising need for a premium product and a growing need for lesser quality cuts. As Indonesia develops so will their taste for quality beef. Australia needs to ensure we are ready to supply it.”
Rashelle Levonian E: email@example.com
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