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Jakarta Post

Government plans to buy chickens to cope with buffalo meat shortage

  • Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, April 16, 2020   /   02:37 pm
Government plans to buy chickens to cope with buffalo meat shortage A farmer shows off his chicken farm in a village in Blitar, East Java. (JP/Asip Hasani)

The government is mulling over a plan for state-owned livestock company PT Berdikari to procure chicken meat from local farmers to cope with a meat supply shortage during Ramadan and Idul Fitri due to a delay in imports of buffalo meat from India.

State Logistics Agency (Bulog) operations director Tri Wahyudi Saleh said in Jakarta on Wednesday that the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister and the House of Representatives Commission IV proposed replacing buffalo meat with chicken meat.

The government is expected to allocate Rp 452 billion (US$28.8 million) for Berdikari to procure chickens from local farmers, according to Tri. “This is to compensate for the delayed import of buffalo meat with another protein, chicken meat,” said Tri.

Bulog, a governmental body tasked with securing national food stocks, had secured a permit from the Trade Ministry to import the buffalo meat from India, a top exporter of the meat.  But Bulog was not able to secure the procurement in time since India extended its lockdown until May 3 to slow the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown has disrupted deliveries of goods to and from the country.

The demand for staple foods including meat usually rises significantly during Ramadan, which is set to begin on April 24, and during Idul Fitri at the end of the fasting month.

Between March and May, the consumption of buffalo meat and beef is estimated to reach 201,730 tons, according to data from the Agriculture Ministry. Without supplies from overseas, the stock is estimated to be lower than the demand by 46,403 tons.

The government had yet to issue any formal orders for Berdikari to procure the meat, said the company’s corporate secretary, Dheni Karmavina.

“Berdikari has yet to receive any letter of assignment to procure chickens,” Dheni told The Jakarta Post in a text message interview on Wednesday. “The coordination has taken place, but it is still under discussion.”