The country is always top or near the top of the list for international meat trade and production is constantly growing.
To put the country's beef market and its growth into context, a Brazilian official explained its scope. "In 1990, the Brazilian herd reached 147 million heads of cattle in an area of 188 million hectares. By 2017, that number had increased to 220 million heads in a smaller area, 167 million hectares."
With a herd that size, Brazil's cattle footprint is heavy and there may be some concerns on environmental impact, however "Brazil has in place very comprehensive policies for preservation". "The total protected area for the preservation of native vegetation (5.64 million hectares) is larger than the entire territory of the European Union. In the Amazon biome, 80% of private land is mandatorily destined for preservation, pursuant to the domestic legislation."
The country has also rolled out the Low Carbon Agriculture (ABC) Plan to improve systems and practices for sustainable use and management of natural resources. The plan's goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the amount of Co2 captured in the soil and vegetation of cultivated areas.
This plan is being carried out by the 26 Federative Units, with most having already published individual plans. Ideas being implemented include training of technicians and farmers, rural credit lines, technology transfer, regularisation and production of seeds and seedlings.
It's impossible not to mention the recent BRF investigation which has led to the country halting exports from that processor to the European Union. The Brazilian authorities have reacted to the situation.
According to the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA), it cooperated with the Federal Police during the investigations that were performed under confidentiality. The Brazilian National Confederation of Farmers (CNA) also declared its support for the investigations.
In a statement, MAPA said: "From the three establishments involved in the investigations, only one was authorized to export to the EU, and was immediately suspended by MAPA. All of them were production plants for poultry meat. (The investigations do not involve the production of beef). Three of the five private laboratories involved were accredited by MAPA to issue laboratory reports for animal products, and they were also immediately suspended by MAPA."
The Brazilian authorities stated that they have "made themselves available to provide the assurances that the findings of the investigations do not pose any sanitary risk for European as well as Brazilian consumers".