One of Brazil’s top export markets, Russia, has continued to show confidence in Brazilian pork production systems, but sales to China and Hong Kong have been slow to recover following “misleading disclosures” over the Operation Weak Flesh earlier this year, according to the Brazilian Association of Animal Proteins (ABPA).

For the month of April, the country’s total volume of pork exports – including fresh meat and processed products - was down 17 percent from the same month in 2016 at 51,000 metric tons (mt). The value of those sales, however, was almost 19 percent higher at US$131.2 million.

Year-to-date figures show a 1.5 percent increase in volume from last year to 226,900 mt, while export revenue increased from US$385.6 million in the January-April period in 2016 to US$534.9 million this year.

ABPA chief executive, Francisco Turra, said that Russia – top destination for Brazilian pig meat – had maintained its confidence in the product in the face of allegations of bribery and food safety issues in the meat sector revealed in Operation Weak Flesh. With an increase of 15 percent in its imports of pork for the first four months of 2017 compared with the same period last year, Russia now accounts for just over 40 percent of Brazil’s total pig meat exports.


Brazilian pork exports to other nations

Argentina has also increased its imports of pig meat from Brazil to 12,600 mt for the first four months of this year.

Although embargoes imposed by China and Hong Kong – among other countries – have been lifted following the Operation, exports to those destinations have been slow to recover. For the January-April period, sales to Hong Kong were down by 19 percent at 48,400mt, and those to China fell 4 percent down to 19,200mt.

According to ABPA's vice president of markets, Ricardo Santin, the slow recovery of these markets was exacerbated by Easter holidays in April, and more favorable results are expected for May.

Turra has been awarded the Premio Carne Forte (Strong Meat Prize) in recognition of his defense of Brazil’s meat sector and support for the industry at the EXPOMEAT event in São Paulo this week.