Brazil to Break Record in Beef Exporting Despite Foot and Mouth Disease

Abattoir activity in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, the country’s second main beef exporter, dropped a dramatic 76% in October since the outbreak of foot and mouth disease was reported, said José Antonio FelÀ­cio from Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry.

The total slaughter last month in Mato Grosso do Sul was 79,000 head of cattle compared to 330,000 in September, according to the federal sanitary certification office, revealed Mr. Felí­cio in an interview with daily Gazeta Mercantil, Brazil’s leading finance publication.

However a private agriculture consulting firm Scot argued that abattoir activity actually dropped 50% if all certified and clandestine operations are taken into account.

Since the outbreak of FAM last October 10, over 10,000 cattle have been sacrificed in the counties of Japorã and Eldorado, next to the border with Paraguay and Bolivia, where the highest number of animals in contact with the virus was tested.

Since the outbreak, more than fifty countries have totally or partially banned imports of Brazilian beef and pork. Brazil was the world’s leading beef exporter in 2004 with US$ 2.4 billion and this year was forecasted to reach US$ 3 billion.

Antenor Nogueira president of the Standing Livestock Forum which depends from the powerful mother organization, National Agriculture Confederation of Brazil, said 2005 will be a record year for beef exports, "with or without FAM".

"Shipments are estimated to increase 30% over 2004", said Mr. Nogueira who added that in the twelve months to October 2005, "beef exports have already reached 3 billion US dollars, 28,8% above the same period a year ago (2.33 billion US dollars)".

"We are hopeful that November will show a recovery in sales which dropped at the end of October and early November," emphasized Mr. Nogueira.

This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.

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