The Brazilian cattle beef and dairy product sector export growth has helped the country maintain the largest cattle herd in the world. According to figures released November 25 by the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE), in 2003 Brazil reached the figure of 195.5 million heads of cattle.
This figure is larger than the country population, which is estimated at 182 million people, also according to the IBGE. Advances in livestock technology also aided in this 5.51% growth in the herd, in comparison to 2002.
“If Brazil continues advancing in agricultural improvement, it will consolidate itself as one of the largest world exporters of meats,” stated Paulo Sérgio Mustefaga, technical advisor of the National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA). He added that the “future of livestock is on the foreign market.”
According to another study, by the CNA and by the Center for Advanced Studies in Applied Economics at the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil is already the largest world beef exporter.
Between January and October this year, the country exported 1.5 million tons of cattle beef and had revenues of over US$ 2 billion, a 41% increase in terms of volume and a 69% increase in terms of revenues when compared to the same period last year. Brazil currently exports to 140 countries.
According to Mustefaga, domestic consumption of the product is stagnated, which has caused the sector to invest even more on the foreign market.
“We are making significant investment in the foreign market. It is exports that are providing an impulse to the growth in the cattle herd,” he said.
He believes that Brazil is currently the most competitive country in this market because it offers better quality.
Another sector that has also contributed to the increase in the cattle herd was the dairy sector.
“With technology we are improving the quality of milk. In recent years, Brazil has become a large importer, but it should soon generate a surplus. This shows that dairy farming is improving,” stated Mustefaga.
Last year, Brazil produced 22.2 billion liters of milk and reached self-sufficiency. According to an article published yesterday by Agência Brasil, the official government news agency, the president of the Brazilian Association of Milk Producers, Jorge Rubez, hopes that in 2004, 15 million liters more of milk should be produced than was produced in 2003.
“The technology that has entered the field, developed by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), is very important, both for the development of livestock, and for agriculture. With the work by the Embrapa, there is an improvement in the quality and in the volume of the Brazilian herd,” stated Carlos Alberto Lauria, coordinator of the IBGE livestock sector.
According to Lauria, Brazilian cattle has a great advantage over that bred in other countries, green grazing grounds.
“Brazil has ‘green cattle’ which is healthier, as it always feeds on pasture, avoiding diseases like mad cow,” he explained.
Transmission of mad cow disease is attributed to the consumption of cattle feed produced using animal matter. He added that Brazil has been taking great care of its herd due to the increase in exports of cattle beef.
The vast Brazilian pastures impress foreigners who visit the country. In 2000, Osama Fagih, then Saudi Arabian Trade minister, visited Brazil as a member of the party that accompanied crown prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
On flying from one extremity of the country to the other, he was impressed with the extension of the grasslands he saw from above.
The midwestern Brazilian states of Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso are the main Brazilian producers of cattle.
Last year, the midwestern region had a total of 69.9 million heads of cattle, a 6.59% growth in relation to 2002.
Mato Grosso do Sul concentrated 12.78% of the Brazilian herd, and Mato Grosso 12.59%.
However, according to the study by the IBGE, the states that presented the greatest growth in the number of bovines, between 2002 and 2003, were two northern Brazilian states, Amazonas, with 25.7% expansion, and Rondônia, with 16.82%.
ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency