Country Profiles


Key facts about the industry 2000-2013

2013 Compounded Annual growth, 2000-2013 (%)
Cattle number DGLAHS statistics (head) 16,607,000 3.4%
Cattle number agricultural census (head) 12,686,280
Live import (head) 371,695 5.2%
Total Cattle (head) 16,978,695 3.4%
Certified slaughter (head) 2,645,370 3.3%
Certified and uncertified slaughter (head) 3,306,713 3.3%
Beef production (tonnes) 545,600 4.1%
Beef imports (tonnes) 42,364 8.2%
Slaughter rate – DGLAHS statistics + imports / slaughter in certified and uncertified plants (%) 19% -0.1%
Average carcass weight domestic cattle (kg) 165 0.7%

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.
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