It was a meant-to-be realization for Lazarus Toto, owner of Toto Ranch (CBN-ID000000281). On one of his visits to the capital city Jakarta, Indonesia, he realized during a steak lunch at local steakhouse how outrageous the price of 180 gram of steak. 4 hours later, back at his hometown, same steak dinner with bigger portion costs not even half of what customers are happy to pay in Jakarta. “It was cutthroat,” he recalled, “It’s an unfair situation for the farmers in the provinces who supplied majority of the beef to the many slaughterhouses.” Lazarus blames the chaotic regulations, poor logistical infrastructure and cartel pricing policy that causes the welfare of these farmers and their chance at better lives. “This includes West Timor, and I was really frustrated with the politics of the industry,” he passionately explained.
Lazarus was frustrated to the point he becomes the solution. He built Toto ranch in West Timor, even with the challenges like illiterate workforces who mostly are poor and uneducated. Not to mention the logistics for the island, Lazarus must deal with high logistical price and dead cattle with no insurance with the shipment mostly coming from Java, Indonesia.
With his passion in writing as one of his many hobbies, there’s one particularly unique story of his fight for the unfair pricing in meat business. Back in 2013, all national and local newspapers in Indonesia were eagerly sounding and supporting the cut of beef importation from Australia. The government believed that by investing on tax-payers money, this could somehow improve the cattle industry infrastructure in Indonesia. “That’s a total wishful thinking, especially when they targeted that we can be self-sufficient by 2014 and appointed a man who knew nothing about cattle farming,” Lazarus remembered it freshly. He then took action by wasting on his own resources to ensure the government of not taking such reckless action, but to no avail. However, the man who cares about preservation of local heritage and endangered species has definitely done his part well for the well being of his environment, and in the end, his country.