Sun, 25 Nov 2001

Consumers have beef with price rise

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The price of beef in traditional markets continued to soar on Saturday and will likely keep increasing until the end of the holiday season, resulting in disappointment for those customers who find the prices to be beyond their means.

Lenny, 40, a housewife who was shopping in Palmerah market in Central Jakarta, said on Saturday that the hikes had just added another burden to her family in celebrating the Idul Fitri holiday.

"It's too expensive. It's unaffordable. Before Ramadhan, the price was usually around Rp 26,000 per kilogram, now it's around Rp 36,000, and I think it will rise even more as Idul Fitri approaches," she said.

A similar complaint was made by Andri, 20, who usually does her shopping in Kebayoran market in South Jakarta. She said that many people would not be able to afford beef if the price kept on increasing.

"It used to be Rp 32,000, but now it has increased to Rp 38,000. I just can't afford it anymore," she said.

The prices of vegetables, meat and other staples normally increase at the beginning of the Ramadhan fasting month due to higher demand, as many people want to eat better food for the breaking of the fast.

It is even thought that the price of beef could jump to between Rp 50,000 and Rp 55,000, helped along by the imposition of value added tax on imported beef.

One of the traders in Palmerah market, Jamad, 38, said that price increases were common during Ramadhan. "It's just a temporary hike," he said.

Because this happens every year, Asiah, 55, who was shopping in Palmerah market, said she was not surprised.

She said she was tired of complaining about the rising prices and, as an ordinary person, she tried to accept them as best she could.

Meanwhile, McDonald's, a franchise restaurant many of whose products use beef, has yet to respond to the beef price increase.

Trisno, the manager of the McDonald's in the Sarinah building, Central Jakarta, said a McDonald's beefburger was still priced at Rp 9,700.

The Coordinating Minister for Economics, Dorodjatun Kuntjoro Jakti, called upon people to change their eating habits by replacing beef with fish.

"I hope that fish will get more attention ... we had better pay more attention to our own commodities," he was quoted by Antara as saying when visiting the Muara Angke fish market in North Jakarta early on Saturday.

For many families here, fish is not as popular as chicken and beef.

He also appealed to beef importers to turn to the abundance of fish that could easily be found in Indonesian waters. A total of 30 percent of the beef here is imported, he said.

On the other hand, the minister said that the high demand for beef in the markets was a good sign in regard to the purchasing power of the public.

As for the price increases, he said he had formed a team to monitor the issue. Supplies will also be monitored closely to ensure that there will be enough for the holiday season, which this year includes Idul Fitri, Christmas and the New Year, he said.