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Brazil grabs pork export momentum due to ASF

Brazil’s government appears to be speeding up the opening of new markets for pork. Partly this is related to the African Swine Fever (ASF) crisis which is especially affecting Asia.

On May 6, Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro announced on his personal Twitter account, that China will allow Brazilian exporters to include pig fat in their export portfolios. He wrote: “To fill a gap in demand left by swine fever, the Chinese government has authorised Brazilian pork exporters to also ship the animals’ edible fat.”

According to Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA), this by-product has more value than traditional meat cuts. China may have a deficit of 1 to 2 million tonnes in pork meat within this year due to the disease.

More meatpackers aiming to get access to China

With this in mind, Tereza Cristina, Brazil’s agriculture minister, had a meeting mid-May with the Chinese Custom Houses general manager, Ni Yuefeng. The aim was to to negotiate the opening for an additional 78 slaughterhouses to export into China. They decided that in May, Brazil’s authorities would send final information about these plants, which would include pork, poultry and cattle production.

The minister said, “We are prepared to expand our offer of quality animal protein to the Chinese market while still meeting the sanitary requirements of our bilateral protocol.”

Brazil is ready to be shipping much more pork to Asia. Photo: Shutterstock
Brazil is ready to be shipping much more pork to Asia. Photo: Shutterstock

In addition, China’s government is planning to begin a ‘continuous habilitation process’ of the Brazilian meat sector in the 2nd half year of 2019. In other hand, Brazil has promised that will support Chinese candidacy to lead the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

South Korea importing more pork

It’s not only China that has become more interested in produce from Brazil. In February, South Korea’s Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency announced that will enable 9 other Brazilian packers (5 of them dealing with pig meat) to export meat to the country. These new plants already fulfilled previous steps from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) and are ready to start exporting.

The qualifications were result of an audit mission conducted by South Korean officials in October last year. South Korea annually imports about US$ 1.5 billion of pork.

According to the ministry, the new estimated potential could add US$ 189 million of Brazilian pork meat trade; considering that Brazil has 9% of world’s market.

Read more about Brazil’s pork business in 2019

Meat export opportunities in Peru and Indonesia

Further opportunities come from a neighbour, being Peru, and on the other side of the globe, Indonesia. Minister Tereza Cristina said that both negotiations are ‘well on track’. As for Peru, trade talks have been going on since 2017.

For Indonesia, direct talks with Amran Sulaiman, Indonesia’s agricultural minister, started mid-May this year. Ms Cristina said, “It’s a country that has 270 million people. If you add Vietnam and Indonesia, we will have a market of almost 300 million people who can consume various Brazilian agricultural products.”

President Bolsonaro and US pork

Brazil’s president Bolsonaro has indicated that he admires America and its president Donald Trump. That admiration has also scared Brazil’s pig sector. At his 1st visit to the US, Mr Bolsonaro promised that he would open the Brazilian market to US pork meat.

That news was initially not well received. According to Brazilian producers, the country has at least 20% of surplus on pig production and importing from US could be a problem for internal economical sustainability. After some while, producers have started to think that openness may take some time and could work out positively in case there would be reciprocity. US and Brazil are both in the top 3 of pig meat exporters globally.

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