Brazil to overtake US as world’s top meat exporter

By Kakie Roubaud, in Rio de Janeiro

- Last updated on GMT

Brazil wants to be the world's top meat producer, despite an economic slowdown
Brazil wants to be the world's top meat producer, despite an economic slowdown

Related tags Brazil Meat Export Beef Lamb Pork Poultry

Brazil will continue to challenge the US for the position of being the world’s biggest meat producer and exporter over the next decade, according to government estimates.

The data suggests that Brazilian meat production​ in 2025/26 will be 30.7% higher than in 2015/6 – amounting to 7.8 million tonnes in additional production – resulting in 33.7mt of output. Chicken meat production is forecast to increase by 34.7% over the next decade, with beef production forecast to rise by 23.3% and pigmeat 35.1% over these years.

These figures were released by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa - Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária) and the ministry of agriculture, livestock and food supply (MAPA - Ministério da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento), in a study titled: ‘Brazil-Forecast in Agribusiness 2015/16 to 2025/26’.

In the short term, Brazil’s current interim government is trying to boost the poultry sector by authorising the import of additional feed. Brazil’s animal protein association (ABPA - Associação Brasileira de Proteína Animal) has reported that its president Francisco Turra and leading companies within this segment have been told by the government that ministers plan to authorise the import of an additional 1m tonnes of corn from the USA by October.

More attractive than Brazil

Brazilian interim agriculture minister Blairo Maggi also advised ABPA executives that Argentinian exporters were offering 15mt of corn and Paraguay exporters 2.5mt, indicating that the Brazilian government would also facilitate these imports. The move is a reaction to Brazilian chicken producers recently shuttering units because prices of Brazil-produced feed, mainly corn and soy, have risen sharply.

ABPA’s Turra commented: “The USA has had a wonderful corn harvest and they have excellent corn. In terms of prices, they are more attractive than Brazilian corn producers or even producers from the Mercosur​ bloc,​” (Brazil’s regional free trade agreement partners – Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela).

Chicken consumption has been booming in Brazil, with domestic production chasing sales, increasing from 9.34mt in 2006 to 13.14mt in 2015. Three Brazilian states are responsible for more than half this production: Paraná (33%), Santa Catarina (17%) and Rio Grande do Sul (14%), according to the ABPA.

Chinese highlights

Exports generally leave the ports of Paranaguá, São Francisco do Sul and Itajaí, all located in these southern Brazilian states. Key export markets currently include Japan​, Saudi Arabia​, Mexico​, the European Union​, China​ and Iraq​. On July 4, ABPA announced that Brazilian chicken exports had risen by 13.86% (by volume) in the last six months compared with the same period in 2015.

Turra explained: “A good performance in June helped the sector to close the first semester on a high. The highlight was China with [exports] 72 per cent better than last year.​” This had translated into 400,000 tonnes more sales, he said, noting that in that first semester, China’s share of Brazilian chicken exports was 11.5%, Saudi Arabia 17% (the top destination) and Japan 9.7%.

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