For the second year in a row, Brazil led the world beef market. The country exported 1.939 million tons in 2004, 62.76% more than in 2003, and earned US$ 2.45 billion, 42.31% more than the year before.
“This was a very good result,” in the opinion of the president of the Brazilian Association of Meat Export Industries (Abiec), Marcus Vinícius Pratini de Moraes.
He ascribed the performance to the addition of 40 markets, bringing the total of countries that buy meat from Brazil to 142. Among the new markets are Algeria, Egypt, Bulgaria, Romania, and Venezuela.
Russia remains the biggest importer, followed by the Netherlands, Chile, Egypt, Italy, Great Britain, Iran, Spain, and Saudi Arabia.
The big challenge in 2005, according to Pratini de Moraes, will be to seek better prices, add value to the product, increase the marketing effort, and exploit new market niches.
Of the total of 1.939 million tons shipped abroad, 579,245 were industrialized products (in the form of cooked meat), and the rest was in the form of raw beef.
According to the Abiec, Brazil currently exports 22-23% of its production and can raise this percentage without diminishing the internal supply, since the sector has great productive capacity and responds rapidly to demand.
Regarding the Russian embargo on Brazilian meat, which is still in effect, Pratini de Moraes said that it had no impact on earnings. With the exception of Cuba, no other market followed the Russian example, he remarked.
In December, the country that imported the largest quantity of raw Brazilian beef was Chile: 11,937 tons.
Pratini de Moraes also informed that Brazilian meat export firms are joining the international campaign to assist Asian tsunami survivors.
They will send between 15 and 20 tons of canned meat to Indonesia. The container will be embarked by January 30, at the latest, on a ship leaving the port of Santos, in São Paulo, headed for Indonesia.
Translation: David Silberstein