Russia Ends Ban on Meat and Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Cheers

The suspension of the Russian embargo on beef, pork, and poultry imports from the Brazilian southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, was acclaimed by the state’s meat supply chain.

The good news was confirmed at the 4th Meeting of the Brazil-Russia High Level Cooperation Commission and announced on Tuesday, April 4, by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations.

According to the Swine Products Industry Syndicate (SIPS), prior to the embargo, which went into effect on December 9, 2005, when an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease was confirmed in the neighboring state of Paraná, producers in Rio Grande do Sul were still able to ship what they had produced until December 12.

"Since then we have had to bear the burden of the pork stocks, which have already attained 60 thousand tons," explains the executive director of the association, Rogério Kerber.

According to Kerber, Rio Grande do Sul expects to slaughter around 5.1 million animals in 2006 (for a total of 410 tons of inspected meat), and 30% of this production will be destined for export.

During the four months of the embargo, he said, the state lost the opportunity to ship 30,000 tons of pork to Russia, at the price of US$ 1.8 thousand per ton.

"Our situation had become dramatic," the director commented, adding that he hopes that trade flows will be normalized quickly with the end of the Russian ban.

Kerber highlighted the efforts made by the federal and state governments to turn things around. There are 24 firms affiliated with the SIPS in Rio Grande do Sul. They constitute all the firms in the state that receive federal inspection. Of the 15 plants licensed to export their products, 10 are qualified to export to Russia.

Governor Germano Rigotto said that the resumption of pork exports from Rio Grande do Sul to the Russian market, "besides representing good news for the economy, validates the effort to maintain the state’s animal health status."

According to Rigotto, the World Animal Health Organization considers Rio Grande do Sul to be an area free of hoof and mouth disease, with vaccination.

"This condition, together with the inspection measures, enabled us to allay the sector, which exported 161,000 tons of pork last year, nearly 70,000 tons to Russia alone," he affirmed.

Agência Brasil

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