José Augusto de Castro, vice-president of the Brazilian Foreign Trade Association (AEB), affirmed that if Brazil did a better job in the area of veterinary health, its image as the world’s largest meat exporter would not have been tainted by the cases of hoof and mouth disease detected last year.
Nevertheless, Castro believes that the country "will continue to export a great deal in 2006," unless other outbreaks of the disease crop up.
He said that the incidence of cases of "mad cow" disease in Canada will also benefit Brazil this year, "since it will mean one less competitor in a product for which world demand outstrips supply."
The vice-president of the AEB criticized the fact that the government only got around to releasing funds from the 2005 budget for the "eradication of hoof and mouth disease, after the damage had already been done."
In his view, the losses "were considerably greater than what the government saved by delaying the release of funds."
Castro affirmed that "the demand for meat is so great on the international market that, with hoof and mouth disease or not, Brazil will always export a lot."