Beef prices to fall

2010-06-23 08:27

Johannesburg - South Africans will soon be able to start buying Brazilian beef again.

According to Mari Carmen, head of the trade division of the Brazilian Embassy in Pretoria, the ban on Brazilian deboned beef should be retracted within the next three weeks.

The regulatory processes to do so are currently being finalised by both countries' ministers of agriculture, she says.

Agreement has also already been reached that the ban on all other categories of beef will be lifted, but at this stage it's not clear when this will occur.

According to David Wolpert, CEO of the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters, the lifting of the ban could bring down the price of beef.

Gerhard Schutte, CEO of the Red Meat Producers Organisation, said only about 8% of the beef is imported, 6% of which comes from neighbouring states.

The import ban on Brazilian pork and beef was instituted in October 2005 after the outbreak of foot and mouth in parts of the country.

Brazil is the world’s biggest exporter of beef and in 2005 exported about R104m worth of beef to South Africa.

This is, however, overshadowed by imports of pork and chicken from Brazil, worth R193m and R633m in 2005 respectively.

In 2009 Brazil exported about R1bn worth of chicken to South Africa.

If the ban on pork is lifted, it will have a much greater effect on the market than the lifting of the ban on beef, said Wolpert.

But no progress has yet been made in scrapping the ban on Brazilian pork, said Carmen.

This issue is expected to be high on the agenda during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, when the Brazilian minister of trade and industry gets together with Dr Rob Davies, his South African counterpart, to negotiate a strategic agreement between the two countries.


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  • More profits - 2010-06-23 09:11

    Wouldnt it be great if our supermarket chains operated like that! Instead it just means they will price it in line with current prices and make more profits for themselves.

  • Dre - 2010-06-23 09:12

    Why are we importing so much chicken? Is this a function of subsidies? Surely we have all the space and grains we need to be exporting chicken ourselves rather?

  • Martin Glover - 2010-06-23 10:02

    Just wondering if this cheap beef is raised on land once part of the Amazon Rain Forest.

  • Johnathan - 2010-06-23 10:24

    Martin, most of the land "reclaimed" from the Amazon forest is used for soya bean cultivation, which is in turn fed to animals. So the beef is indirectly raised in the rainforest yes. Dre, if you think we can produce more chicken cheaply in South Africa, why don't you draw up a business plan, get investors and start a new poultry farm?

  • Rob - 2010-06-23 10:47

    Nothing wrong with the free market system. What I would like to see though is compulsory labelling of foods letting us know where it comes from. That way we can choose whether to support SA beef or imported. Having said that it also highlights again our need to be more competitive with our pricing. I hope the Unions take note of this. Become more competitive and we could also export a lot more.

  • Economist - 2010-06-23 10:48

    SA should not only import Brazil Beef, but should look and learn from their economic policies and good governance and anti-corruption efforts which have resulted in record high growth and record low unemployment.

  • david - 2010-06-23 12:32

    To clarify--the quote about pricing was attributed to me.This was a misquote. I said that pricing would depend on various factors eg supply and demand,quality,the high duties involved and currency issues. The detail regarding the reopening of the market is correct,subject to current negotiations,but there are various cuts/types of beef,and not all will reopen simultaneously as some cuts require further clarification.

  • Dre - 2010-06-23 13:58

    @Jonathan - because I think the whole battery chicken industry is disgusting and the lowest point of humanity since Auschwitz. And there is clearly something artificial in the pricing if it makes economic sense to send chicken carcasses across the ocean rather than raise them here.

  • scud - 2010-06-23 14:30

    @Dre-The reason for high chicken imports(which still only represent about 10% market share)is not price,but quality. SA injects a brine solution into its chickens-this affects size,weight and quality.BTW there are no subsidies on imported chicken and in fact there is a 27% duty

  • Proudly SA'n - 2010-06-23 17:59

    Industries such as these mentioned above can be taken advantage of, more competitive pricing, infrastructure and I also agree on the compulsory labeling of local/foreign products.

  • Roger - 2010-06-24 08:19

    Amazing. Makes me wonder how much money the locals have been exploiting us for in these hard times...

  • Onlooker - 2010-06-24 14:51

    the farmer gets AT BEST R15 a kilo (live whieght) - wonder who is ripping of who?

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