The record turnover in value also sees a continued growth in volume, following recent declines, said Fernando Sampaio, executive director with the Association of Brazilian Beef Exporters, speaking to Globalmeatnews.com at Anuga this week.
That $6bn of beef exports, however, reflects only a tiny proportion of the country’s total beef production, as exports only account for 18% of all beef produced.
And Brazilian production is bucking the global trend of decline as well, claims Sampaio. “We’re increasing production by increasing our productivity, we’re rearing more animals per hectare and we’re getting more kilograms of beef from every animal we’re producing.”
He said the country’s pasture areas were shrinking as the industry improved its production efficiencies and animal genetics.
Trade was continuing to grow, with Hong Kong now the number one market for Brazilian beef, closely followed by Russia. The Middle East was also growing in importance, with both Libya and Egypt looking for increased amounts, while Sampaio said the Far East continued to offer the greatest long-term opportunity.
However, frustrations remain over the restrictions into the EU market, he said: “Europe has become less important for us, but not because we want that, we still need Europe. We don’t have an alternative market for striploins and rumps, or not one that pays as much.”
He said the Brazilian industry was continuing to negotiate to try and lift restrictions, but he said the issue was now “political” rather than technical, and they were working through the Mercosur negotiations with the EU on the subject and had not ruled out taking the issue to the World Trade Organisation.