"The latest batch, consisting of 5,000 cows, was sent to Java to meet the high demand for meat there," said the Head of Livestock and Animal Health Department of West Nusa Tenggara, Hery Erpan Rayes, here on Tuesday.
He noted the number of the cows shipped this year was in line with the goals of West Nusa Tenggara The Land Of One Million Cows (BSS) program.
"Under the BSS program, West Nusa Tenggara should not export more than 30 percent of the total cattle production in the province," Rayes stated.
"We only export grade three cows and keep the grade one and grade two cows for ourselves in order to increase the number of high quality cows here," he explained.
Rayes said the same regulation applied to beef cattle.
"We want to ensure that we always have high quality beef cattle in West Nusa Tenggara," he stated.
Rayes added that the regional government provided funds worth Rp80 billion in 2011 and Rp90 billion in 2012 in an effort to encourage farmers to upgrade their livestock production capacity.
"Farmers were prohibited from selling highy productive cows to butchers. If they followed the regulation, the government provided them financial support through subsidies," he said.
The BSS program was launched in 2008, with a target of producing one million beef cattle in 2013.
"It also became a part of the President`s meat self-sufficiency program," Rayes stated.
Three years after the launch of the BSS program, West Nusa Tenggara has produced 35,000 cows annually and achieved a surplus of 5,000 tons of meat, with domestic consumption at 13,700 tons per year.
"The cattle population in the West Nusa Tenggara has been increasing since the BSS program was launched. The numbers reached 784,019 in 2011, which means there has been an addition of 237,905 cows since the launch of the program," Rayes noted.