Mountains of Cash for the Mountains? Cattle by the numbers.
I am no expert in cattle, but I am learning.
The Peace Dividend Marketplace project has done alot of work for cattle owners and dealers in Timor-Leste, and its an important part of the border trade between Indonesia and Timor-Leste. One of our longest standing clients is a cattle agent named “Raflima”. They talk to us about the partnership with them here.
However, there is a bit of a myth about the vast beef eating markets in Indonesia in relation to Timor-Leste. That myth is that equally vast herds of cattle head that way, and that its easy to do…
Well alot do head that way, but not as many as I thought, and over the past 3 years the numbers have dramatically dropped. At least on an official level. See below for cattle by the numbers – in 2008 1,425 were exported to Indonesia, in 2009 the number dropped to 962, and in 2010 even further to just 643.
Why is this?
- Is it because the internal market is sucking up supply – certainly there is alot more beef in Dili’s Comoro and Taibessi markets these days?
- Is it because the border remains a big obstacle?
- Have border passes reduced the requirement for “official licenses”?
- Are Timorese prices rising higher than what Indonesian markets want to pay?
- Is the price of cattle dropping in Indonesia itself?
Cattle are usually held in small family holdings in Timor-Leste and they represent much of the liquidity in the poorest parts of the country – finding markets for them is a big deal, and improving the herd quality and quantity is an even bigger deal. I met with some dudes at the Worldbank yesterday who think the same as well.