JAKARTA (Bloomberg/Reuters): Indonesia has lifted its ban on Australian cattle imports, while calling on the cattle exporter to tighten inspections to ensure the shipments are free of disease.
Shipments from banned farms are allowed starting on Friday, according to Indonesia’s head of agriculture quarantine agency, Bambang, who goes by one name.
Indonesia is Australia’s largest export market for live cattle, accounting for A$562 million (US$367 million) of overall trade in 2022.
The bans were enacted about a month ago after cattle sourced from a handful of farms in Australia tested positive for lumpy skin disease after spending time in Indonesia.
Shortly after, Malaysia enacted a similar suspension, which was withdrawn on Wednesday. Australian maintains that it is free from Lumpy Skin Disease.
LSD primarily affects cattle and buffalo, and can result in animal welfare issues and significant production losses. It doesn’t pose a risk to humans.
Bambang, head of Indonesia's Agriculture Quarantine Agency at the Agricultural Ministry, told a news conference that imports had resumed on Friday but said Australia must fulfil certain requirements, such as ensuring livestock's health and disinfecting vessels before departure.
Australia has said it is LSD free, and its chief veterinary officer has said the infections were not unexpected, given the presence of LSD in Indonesia.
Bambang said the origins of the infection were unclear, adding an Australian investigation into the matter, which was slated to end this month, concluded in late August, prompting the resumption of imports.
He added that should there be new LSD cases, Indonesia will not immediately close imports "due to the enormous impacts it has on cow importers and farmers in Australia."
According to Indonesian data, the country imported more than 303,000 live cattle from Australia last year, while imports so far this year exceeded 153,000 cattle. - Bloomberg/Reuters