Slaughter rate – DGLAHS statistics + imports / slaughter in certified and uncertified plants (%)
Average carcass weight domestic cattle (kg)
Source: Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health services (various years) and UNComtrade
Indonesia is a mid-sized producer ranked 27th in the world, but the largest in Southeast Asia with 13-16 million cattle in 2013, and a slaughter of 2.6-3.3 million head (depending on source and assumptions).
Cattle are produced in a range of systems, predominantly by small-holders in integrated crop-livestock systems (e.g. Java), but also grazing (e.g. Eastern Indonesia) and in plantation systems (Sumatra and Kalimantan).
Unlike China, economic growth has not provided large scale opportunities for farmers to work off-farm, so rural livelihoods remained rooted in agriculture, including livestock (4.8 million households) and cattle (perhaps 2 million).
With low opportunity costs of labour, and innovative ways to access low cost feed, many rural households still want to raise cattle, but more as a source of “savings” than to maximise productivity or profits.
Markets are serviced by low-cost and efficient chains, dominated by spot markets, and small butchers that slaughter service slaughter plants and distribute generic beef through wet markets.
While transport in the archipelago is logistically challenging, there is a significant trade in live cattle (and, increasingly, beef) around the country.
Economic growth, population growth and urbanisation has increased demand for beef which has an established place in the Indonesian diet.
Beef prices in Indonesia are high by world and regional standards and an average of three times more expensive than the most highly-consumed meat, chicken.
Indonesia therefore imports large quantities of beef and cattle (730,000 head in 2014), although policy settings have a large bearing on trade flows. These cattle are finished predominantly on plantation residues, in a feedlot sector with a capacity to turn off around one million head per year.
There is an informal cattle and beef trading sector in Indonesia but it does not appear to be as large as that in China and the Mekong.