Business

With ban lifted, importer initiates wagyu war in Indonesia

Nna/kyodo

An Indonesian meat distributor is importing wagyu, long banned in the Southeast Asian country, in cooperation with the Japan External Trade Organization to test the local market, which has been dominated by the same breed from Australia.

Johana Koswara, managing director of PT. Global Pratama Wijaya, said her company has imported more than 1.2 tons of Omi Hime Wagyu produced in Shiga Prefecture as initial shipments so far for a six-month trial from July to December this year. Indonesia lifted an import ban on Japanese beef last year.

“We hope we can double the current achievement in the second trial period that is starting from January 2018,” Johana said at a launch event for the beef in Jakarta last week.

Global Pratama Wijaya, which used to focus on wagyu from Australian-bred cattle, has begun importing Japanese wagyu as well, counting on its growth potential.

“Now we are supplying Omi Hime Wagyu to 10 restaurants in Jakarta. Currently we focus on Jakarta and Bali first because the highest demand comes from those two provinces,” Johana said, although the beef has yet to be supplied to Bali due to eruptions on Mount Agung on the tourist island.

Johana said Omi Hime Wagyu has been certified as halal, or fitting consumption by Muslims under Islamic law, by the Indonesian Ulema Council, with every process of slaughter overseen by the council.

“I directly looked at their farms in Shiga Prefecture in the Kansai region,” Johana said. “I saw how they treated their cows and also how they maintain the cleanliness of farms. That’s what has made us sure to import Omi beef.”