West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) has once again announced a beef surplus, so for the upcoming Ramadhan fasting month, the provincial administration is ready to help meet the demands of other provinces.
“Our stocks are safe. The current number of cattle in NTB totals around 120,000 head, while the slaughter quota this year is around 37,000 head, which includes local demand and other provinces,” NTB Animal Husbandry Office head Hery Erpan Rayes told The Jakarta Post.
Based on data from the NTB Animal Husbandry Office, at least 17 provinces request beef supplies from NTB each year, including provinces in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Jakarta.
Erpan said NTB was a beef-independent province, where beef stocks amount to 81,000 head of cattle, or equivalent to 13.2 million tons of beef, while its local demand only required 16,000 head or 2.4 million tons annually.
In 2012, NTB allocated 32,000 head of cattle, with 22,000 head, or around 60 percent, set aside to meet the demand in other provinces. This year, the quota has increased to 37,000 head of cattle.
NTB has pushed since 2009 for the NTB Land of 1 Million Cattle (BSS) program, which aims to produce 1 million head of cattle by 2014.
Erpan added that budget support from the central government, via the Agriculture Ministry, had increased.
“This year, we will receive Rp 203 billion [US$21 million] outside the regular budget, the amount of which remains unclear,” he said.
Ever since NTB Governor Zainul Majdi launched the BSS program in early 2009, added Erpan, the husbandry office had developed several strategies, including raising the number of productive cows, saving productive cows from being slaughtered, reducing the risk of calf death and productive calf control.
“If anyone wants to slaughter a productive cow, it must be replaced with a steer, bought from an appointed group. This is aimed at maintaining the number of productive cows. Initially, it was hard, but now people are already aware about it and productive cows are no longer taken to the slaughter house,” he said.
The achievement in increasing the cattle population in NTB is attributed to the major role played by farmers in Lombok and Sumbawa. Currently, more than 2,800 cattle-farming communities are recorded in NTB.
In Lombok, the groups breed cattle by way of collective pens. The cattle are raised together in one location by applying an intensive feeding system, while on Sumbawa Island, farmers use the lar or so system, in which cattle is herded onto pasture land and allowed to roam.
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