Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Food Agency (Bapanas) underscored the importance of increasing meat production on a domestic scale.

"Therefore, we need to stop meat imports and encourage the increase in domestic meat production," Bapanas Head Arief Prasetyo Adi remarked here on Wednesday.

Adi attributed the current high price of meat to the imports being carried out on a large scale.

The agency head cited as an example that the price of meat in Australia had reached AU$8.59, while the AU$ exchange rate against the rupiah was around Rp10 thousand.

"If we depend on imports, the consequences are when the foreign exchange rate against the rupiah is high or the price of meat in the country of origin is high, then it will directly affect us," he explained.

Meanwhile, Adi ensured that the related ministries and agencies had discussed about meat importation during a technical coordination meeting.

"The (price) calculation had many considerations. Recently, in a meeting with Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian and governors and district heads and mayors throughout Indonesia, we said that availability is a priority then the prices follow," Adi stated.

He stressed that the meat import permits are not late.

"They are not late, as beef and buffalo meat are now in stock, both in traditional markets and supermarkets," he stated.

He noted that Bapanas had completed the commodity balance in December.

Earlier, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin stated that Indonesia had the opportunity to reduce beef imports through the development of cattle farms in Sulawesi, Kalimantan, and East Nusa Tenggara.

He remarked that the relevant authority in Indonesia has started the planning for the cattle farm development, which is expected to reduce beef imports.

The Ministry of Agriculture is also developing the Belgian blue cattle breeding project to support meat self-sufficiency.

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Translator: Aji C, Kenzu
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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