President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono: (Kompas/Riza Fathoni)
East Sumba regency in East Nusa Tenggara is preparing a total of 400,000 hectares of land across 140 villages to expand its cattle breeding industry.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to visit Maubokul village on Wednesday. The village is set to become one of the cattle breeding centers in the regency.
“The cattle breeding area in Maubokul village reaches 10,000 hectares with vast plains that are very suitable for this industry,” East Sumba Regent Gidion Mbilijora said over the telephone on Tuesday.
According to Gidion, cattle population in Sumba Island has decrease drastically to some 100,000 cattle, from its initial number of around 300,000.
“Livestock populations like cows, horses and buffalo are decreasing. We hope the President’s visit on Wednesday becomes a motivation to make the cattle industry a seeded sector in Sumba,” Gidion said.
The cattle population has decreased in 21 regencies and cities in East Nusa Tenggara. The provincial statistics agency said the number of cattle in the province was 700,000 in 2011, decreasing from 800,000 registrations in 2006. The decreasing number of cattle had affected local beef supply.
The decrease was a result of the movement of female cows and buffalos to other islands to slaughtered and consumed.
Since 2010, the East Nusa Tenggara administration has declared itself a “livestock province”. The declaration was meant to return the province to its heyday as one of the country’s main suppliers of livestock.
East Nusa Tenggara had 1.5 million cattle in 1997, the highest nationwide.
“The number of cows and buffalos in the area keeps decreasing year by year because of the loose supervision system of cattle movements to other provinces to meet the national beef demand,” East Nusa Tenggara Vice Governor Esthon Foenay said on Tuesday.
Esthon hoped that the public could manage the livestock market by not selling calves in the future.
“With our ‘one citizen, one cattle’ program, we are looking forward to achieving a figure of 4 million cattle within the next five to 10 years, surpassing Australia with the highest number of cattle,” Esthon said.
Yudhoyono is also scheduled to visit SMP Negeri Pandawai, a local junior high school, to have a discussion with the students. “The president will also look into services in local community health centers (Puskesmas),” Esthon said. (fzm/nvn)