JAKARTA Indonesia said on Tuesday it would issue permits to import 700,000 cattle for slaughter in 2017 as well as shipping in additional buffalo meat from India, as it looks to control climbing food prices.
Since coming to power in October 2014, President Joko Widodo has pursued food self-sufficiency to protect farmers, but the result has often been volatile prices and worried investors, eroding support for the government.
"This is being done to push down prices that are still high, and to prepare for demand during the Muslim fasting month in 2017," the country's economic ministry said in a statement.
The Southeast Asian nation ships in virtually all its cattle from Australia - a trade that was worth nearly $600 million in the last financial year.
Indonesia's government late last year estimated that the country would import around 700,000 head of cattle in 2016.
The country has been pushing cattle-buyers to start breeding their own livestock as part of efforts to reduce its dependence on imports.
Trade minister Enggartiasto Lukita said on Tuesday that for every five cattle imported, feedlots would need to have at least one animal for breeding purposes.
The government has also revised plans to import buffalo meat from India. It now expects to ship in 100,000 tonnes of the meat by June 2017, rather than aiming for 80,000 tonnes of such imports this year.
(Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Richard Pullin and Joseph Radford)