Brazil is hopeful the ban on Brazilian beef imposed by almost 50 countries following several outbreaks of foot and mouth disease will be lifted by the end of the year, said Agriculture Minister Rodrigo Rodrigues.
"We hope to be able to lift the bans in a relatively short term. Possibly by the end of the year", said Rodrigues during a seminar in São Paulo on farm policies.
Since the first outbreak was reported last October 10 in the southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul next to the Paraguayan border, 49 countries suspended beef and pork purchases from Brazil which is the world’s main beef exporter.
Rodrigues said that according to a paper from the Trade and International Negotiations Studies Institute, Brazil is set to loose US$ 1.6 billion in the next six months if the ban persists longer than estimated by the government.
He added that the government and private sector are working hard to deactivate the bans and reduce as much as possible FAM losses.
"We trust Brazil will recover its image and prestige," said Mr. Rodrigues, adding that Brazil "is a very important player in the world beef market and will not be left out."
The Minister insisted that Brazil is addressing the FAM issue with the maximum "transparency" as demanded by beef buyers, which according to official information totaled sales of US$ 3 billion in the last twelve months.
So far the Brazilian government has confirmed eleven FAM outbreaks in Mato Grosso do Sul and another four in the state of Paraná are pending confirmation. Paraná state has common borders with Argentina and Paraguay.
"All the FAM outbreaks have the same origin and are concentrated in Mato Grosso do Sul", stressed Rodrigues.
Although Brazilian authorities have been pointing a finger towards Paraguay as the source of the outbreak, given the FAM "O" strain common at one time in that country, Mr. Rodrigues said relations were "normal" with no "irritations."
This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.