Workers laid off as beef price rises steeply
The Jakarta Post
Beef floss and jerky producers in Cianjur, West Java, have been forced to lay off employees as a result of the skyrocketing price of beef and limited beef supplies.
Beef floss maker Asep Wahyudin said at his premises on Jl. Salakopi, Cianjur, on Monday that he had been forced to lay off dozens of employees as his business was no longer operating.
'When the price of beef continued surging, we stopped producing beef floss due to a lack of beef. The price of beef has skyrocketed, but there are no supplies. To minimize costs, we have laid off employees for the time being,' Asep was quoted by Antara as saying.
The situation, he added, had been exacerbated by striking beef sellers in the area as well as farther afield, such in as Bandung, Sukabumi and Bogor. 'What else can we do if supplies are unavailable? Usually when there is a price increase, supplies are still available,' said Asep.
He added that he could produce 300 kilograms of beef floss and jerky per day, which he sold for Rp 210,000 (US$15.45) per kilogram, but he was forced to sell the products for Rp 240,000 per kg now. The increase in price, he said, had impacted sales as buyers were reluctant to buy his products when the prices went up.
One man, Rizal, said the higher price had discouraged him from buying beef floss and jerky for neighbors and colleagues in Jakarta.
'Many of my friends and neighbors asked me to buy beef floss and jerky from Cianjur given the difference in taste from other areas, but I was discouraged by the high price. Maybe I'll just buy for those who gave me the money,' he said.
Meanwhile, the soaring price of beef after Idul Fitri celebrations has been a blessing for poultry farmers as people have shifted to buying chicken, thus leading to an increase in the price of chicken.
'The price of a 'super' free-range chicken has reached Rp 30,000 per kilogram at the farmer's level. It usually costs around Rp 24,000,' said Ngadiman, 60, a poultry farmer in Sumbermulyo village, Bambanglipuro district, Bantul regency, Yogyakarta.
A super free-range chicken is a cross-breed and has tenderer meat and has a shorter farming period of 55 to 60 days.
Ngadiman claimed that the price of chicken had increased after Idul Fitri along with the price of beef. He said consumers had shifted to chicken as it was more affordable.
Chicken seller Marsudi said demand for chicken, especially the 'super' Javanese variety and free-range had surged. 'No matter how many chickens we bring, they will all be sold,' said Marsudi.
'Demand from Jakarta is quite high, especially due to rumors that beef sellers would go on strike,' said Marsudi.
Housewife Wulan said she saved money by not buying beef. 'Rather than paying more than Rp 100,000 for a kilo of beef, I'd rather buy chicken and a variety of fish,' she said at Niten Market in Bantul.
Wulan said that for the time being, she had no problem not eating beef because the fish and chicken were also healthy and cheaper.
'It's the law of nature. If the price of beef is above Rp 100,000 per kilo, many consumers will turn to other food, such as chicken, the price of which has also increased,' said Bantul Beef Sellers Association leader Ilham Jayadi.
He acknowledged that the high price of beef had reduced beef sellers' profit. The number of customers and sales have dropped to more than 50 percent.
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