Strategy confusion fuels slump in Argentinian beef exports
Published:  02 November, 2010

Total beef exports from Argentina have dropped by 50% in the past 12 months, with volumes to the EU falling by 30% and exports to Russia plummeting by 70%.

The declines have been blamed, in part, on a change in government strategy on beef exports.

Instituto de Promoción de la Carne Vacuna foreign promotion manager Sergio Rey said: "There is considerable uncertainty over strategy, with national elections next September. We haven't had a new policy since last year."

With land cheaper to farm soya, many farmers have moved out of beef production. Argentinian cattle farmers are expected to have 4m fewer head of cattle in 2010, and 30% fewer cattle slaughtered, according to the Argentine Rural Society, a farmers group.

Current supply of the domestic market has been hit, with consumption down from 75kg per head to 65kg per head between 2009 and 2010. "People still want as much beef as they've always eaten in Argentina," said Rey. "It's just that they cannot get hold of the product right now."

Global exports have been decimated as a result. According to Rey, future strategy, "though still unknown, has to concentrate around targeting more quality markets".

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