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ANZ asked to help Indon cattle industry


President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on Australian banking giant ANZ to help boost investment in the Indonesian cattle industry as the archipelago continues its drive towards self-sufficiency.

The appeal for ANZ to help drive investment in the Indonesian cattle industry, which comes in the wake of Australia's decision last year to suspend the live export trade, was made during a meeting with the bank's chief Mike Smith in Jakarta.

Indonesia's Economics Minister Hatta Rajasa, who also took part in the meeting at the presidential palace on Tuesday, said Dr Yudhoyono made a special point of asking ANZ for assistance in boosting development in the cattle industry.

"In the meeting, the president raised cattle farming development in Indonesia, which has been significant in eastern regions," Mr Rajasa said, according to the Jakarta Post newspaper.

"The ANZ executives expressed their commitment to take part in the sector, particularly if there were Australian and New Zealand investors."

The live cattle trade was suspended for a month in June last year after shocking footage of animals being mistreated in Indonesian abattoirs was aired on television in Australia.

Industry representatives and Australian officials have said the trade was unlikely to return to pre-suspension levels.

Indonesia has been seeking to reduce its reliance on imports from Australia, while also aiming to be self-sufficient in beef production by 2014.

However, there are serious doubts over the viability of the self-sufficiency plan, which was first introduced in 1999.

Most cattle farmers in Indonesia are very small scale, raising only one or two animals for savings or investment purposes, and do not send them for slaughter.