Beef traders' strike ends, prices remain high
Arya Dipa and Ganug Nugroho Adi
The Jakarta Post
Beef dealers, slaughter houses and beef retailers ended their strike on Wednesday, which they began on Aug. 9, but the price of beef remains above Rp 100,000 (US$7.50) per kilogram.
'We can resume selling but the price of beef remains high due to cattle raisers,' the head of the West Java chapter of the Indonesia Beef Traders Association (Apdasi), Dadang Iskandar, said in Bandung on Wednesday.
A 60-year-old beef seller at Kosambi market in Bandung named Sidik said he could not lower the price from the basic price for which he bought the beef from traders.
'The most expensive part is tenderloin, which I sell for Rp 140,000 per kg. The ordinary parts are sold for between Rp 110,000 and Rp 120,000 per kg,' said Sidik, who resumed selling beef on Wednesday.
However, he claimed transactions were still slow from morning until noon on Wednesday. Before the strike a kilogram of beef was sold for Rp 80,000.
The price of beef at the government's market operation was tempting for restaurant owners and bakso (meatball) sellers.
Bakso maker Amin, 43, who operates at the Astana Anyar market in Bandung, said he intentionally bought 10 kg of beef to make meatballs. 'I'd rather buy frozen meat during the absence of beef,' said Amin.
Amin needs at least 12.5 kg of beef to run his business. Usually, he said, he used fresh local beef for raw material. 'Local beef is better in terms of quality, but I've been using frozen beef to anticipate the beef shortage,' said Amin.
Dadang Iskandar said the price of beef at the retail level would still remain above Rp 100,000 per kg as long as the price set by the cattle farmers remained high.
During normal conditions, added Dadang, a kg of live cattle was priced at between Rp 36,000 and Rp 38,000.
'But now, the price of a kilogram of beef of a live cattle remains between Rp 40,000 and Rp 42,000. This has burdened everyone,' said Dadang.
During four days of market operations, West Java Logistics Office head Alif Afandi said his office had distributed at least seven tons of frozen beef. 'The market operations have been held in 12 markets in the Greater Bandung area,' said Alif.
In response to demands for market operations when the price of beef remained high, Alif claimed he was ready to carry it out. 'We just have to wait for the order from the government because stocks are still available,' added Alif.
Amid the beef shortage in various regions, beef supplies in Surakarta, Central Java, remain secure but the price is still high.
'In Surakarta, beef supplies remain secure. Beef is readily available here, however its price has slightly increased, but is still reasonable,' said Surakarta Agriculture Office head Wenny Ekayanti on Wednesday.
Wenny said the price of beef experienced an increase ranging from Rp 120,000 to Rp 140,000 for premium quality beef, which ranged between Rp 110,000 and Rp 115,000 earlier.
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