Following the outbreak of BSE in Brazil, two major exporters of beef will continue to export to China via alternative supply mode.
In February this year, Brazilian beef exports were suspended following the confirmation of a BSE case in a cow from a farm in the northern state in Brazil.
Minerva SA, which processed 20% of Brazil’ beef exports, said that during the temporary BSE suspension, it will continue to serve demand from China by capitalising on its operations in Uruguay and Argentina.
Another beef exporter, Marfrig, will also use its 6 plants in Argentina and Uruguay to supply the Chinese market in a similar way to Minerva.
In 2022, Brazil exported 1.238 million tonnes of beef to China, half of its total exports of 2.264 million tonnes.
The BSE export suspension comes as part of the disease control protocol signed between the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and the General Administration for the Supervision of Quality, Inspection and Quarantine from China. The exporters believe that the current suspension is only temporary and should resume soon.
Major beef exporters like JBS expect demand for beef to rise in China as the country still has low per capita consumption, on top of the reality that China domestic production is still far from able to meet consumption as beef production requires more land and a longer production cycle when compared to other meat like chicken and pork.
Rising urban population, higher income and changing consumer lifestyles have also indirectly led to rising demand for beef. The proliferation of western burger joints, fast food chains and restaurants have accelerated this trend.