Let us feed the world, says Brazil

Brazilian beef exporters are confident that they will be able to export to Europe at pre-restriction levels by the end of next year.

Since January last year, only EU-approved farms have been able to export beef to Europe, and imports from the South American producer have virtually stopped as a result.

So far, only around 400 farms have been licensed to export beef to Europe, but Brazilian exporters insist that "the certification process is progressing rapidly".

Speaking at the SIAL international show in Paris, Mauricio Borges, director of Apex Brazil, said: "Brazil is fully prepared to compete at the same level as we did last year. By the end of 2009, we will have fully achieved that level."

Borges conceded that high domestic demand and strong prices have removed the incentive for farmers to pay for the auditing process, but insisted that "exports remain part of Brazil's strategy".

Luiz Carlos de Olivia, executive director of the Association of Brazilian Beef Exporters, said that while the strong local market could easily absorb the beef that was previously exported to Europe, "Brazil has the potential to double its beef production levels over the next year."

"The EU market is very important to us and we are also looking to expand into Russia, the Middle East and South America," he added.

Carlos de Olivia pointed out that, with declining European production and the current food crisis, Europe should turn away from protectionism and work with other countries to ensure fair global trade.

"We want the EU to reduce tax, remove subsidies and stop talking about sanitary problems," he said. "We need to work together and get on with feeding the world - people are hungry."