Exports up for Argentine beef

The Argentine beef industry is set to double exports this year, bosses revealed at Anuga. Exports are set to rise from 300,000t last year to more than 600,000t, according to the Argentine Beef Promotion Institute (IPCVA).

Arturo Llavallol, president of IPCVA, said the country still had issues with political interference into beef exports, but said Argentina still had meat to supply the world.

The export ban has now been lifted and replaced with a 15% tax, which, Llavallol admitted, makes it harder for Argentine beef exporters to compete.

Production has also fallen, predominantly due to a number of years of severe drought, he said: “It has been the most severe drought in more than 100 years, but it’s now starting to rain again. However, there will be around 3m fewer head of cattle processed this year.”

Some farmers were also switching from beef to soya, he added: “Soya production is increasing because prices are high and some are moving from beef – it’s a better price and a quicker return on investment.”

He said more work needed to be done to end the internal Argentine market’s reliance on beef, and to encourage other meat consumption.

“At the moment, chicken and pork are the same price as beef, so people prefer to choose beef. Instead of cheap beef, we should be offering people cheap chicken and pork.”

Despite the challenges facing the country, Llavallol believes South America as a whole would continue to grow and play a major role in supplying meat to the rest of the world.

“There are four countries that are going to be the biggest players in world supply: Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.”

He said that while there may be some depression in supply at the moment, those were the four countries that have the most resources and greatest potential to increase production.

Next year will also see Argentina host the 18th World Meat Congress.

Llavallol, who is president of the congress’ executive council, said the event was already shaping up well and would focus on themes such as sustainability and world trade liberalisation.