Northern Territory cattle producers say Indonesia's decision to buy farmland in northern Australia could come as a lifeline to the industry recovering from live export suspension.

Indonesia's government has in the north to secure cheaper imports.

Indonesia wants to be self-sufficient in food production but does not have the land for breeding cattle locally.

Under the plan, the cattle would be bred in Australia and transported to local feedlots.

The NT Cattlemen's Association says producers in the Territory are not in a position to argue with the proposal and some struggling producers may benefit.

Spokesman Luke Bowen says it is a good opportunity for the region.

"I think we have to be very open-minded about foreign investment," he said.

"It's been a part of the landscape ... our history has shown us it's been good for northern Australia ... infrastructure, it stays behind."

The Territory's cattle industry is still recovering from the former Labor government's suspension of live exports for a month in 2011 because of animal welfare concerns.

The association's former president Rohan Sullivan says some stations have been unable to sell on the Australian market and may want to sell to Indonesia.

The proposed cattle station - four times the size of the ACT - could produce around 5 per cent of the export market.

Producers say that is not enough to threaten the local industry.

Indonesia's state enterprises minister, Dahlan Iskan, told local journalists the proposition would be a cheaper way to supply beef to the country.

"Breeding cattle in Australia is cheaper, [but] feedlots in Indonesia are three times cheaper [than Australia]," Mr Iskan said.

The land sale will need to be approved by Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board once an appropriate piece of land is found.


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