In early September of this year, Brazilian authorities discovered to atypical mad cow cases in separate meat plants across the country. Mad cow disease is a brain disorder on adult cattle that can be spread to humans if they consume the diseased meat. Upon discovery, shipments were suspended immediately. Brazilian cow export is a 4-billion-dollar-per-year business, with China being their largest market, and although it was widely expected that China would quickly resume imports, they maintained a ban in Brazilian cow shipments for 8 weeks and counting. The suspension on these exports has taken a toll on Brazil’s economy, and there has been a growing concern among Brazilian officials and meatpacking companies.
In spite, of Brazil’s biggest meat exporting market being decimated, beef exports remain high in comparison with other times. When looking at the statistics from this year and September from last year, it is easily noticed Brazil’s exports in beef are much higher, with an 80% increase in the daily average of shipments. Although their beef exports to China have ceased to exist over this 2-month period, Brazilian cow exports to Australia, Russia, and the USA have been high, thus compensating for their inactivity in the Chinese market. Lygia Pimentel, the director of consultancy at AgriFatto, a company of agribusiness consultancy, told the media during an interview, "I don't think there's a simple fix in this case. If it can't clear customs, I think most of that cargo is likely to come back,"
Despite this situation having impacts on Brazil’s economy, they maintained high numbers and managed to keep high beef exportation numbers, ultimately leading to fewer damage to their economy. Over the coming weeks, the Brazilian beef industry will wait for updates on this situation to see when beef exports to China can resume, until then, they can fall back on their agrobusinesses with other countries to keep their companies afloat.
Written by: Matias Gonçalves
Edited by: Anna Kissajikian