Brazil could emerge as leading pork exporter

Potential easing of trade restrictions and an ample supply of feed ingredients would make Brazilian pork industry growth viable.

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Brazil is already known as the world’s largest exporter of poultry, as well as beef. However, it has traditionally lagged behind in pork exports.

Steve Meyer, lead economist for Ever.Ag, said that could gradually change due to a variety of factors.

While speaking at World Pork Expo on June 5 in Des Moines, Iowa, Meyer described Brazil as “one to watch in the long term.”

“I don’t think they’re going to take over things by any stretch in the next year or two,” he said, noting that the country has been subjected to trade restrictions over concerns of foot-and-mouth disease.

However, the country has applied for nationwide status of being FMD-free. That status has already been granted to the states of Santa Catarina and Paraná. If that trade barrier is lifted, Brazil’s pork output -- which is already growing – will continue to grow, especially considering there are ample supplies of corn and soybeans for feed.

“We think they’ve got the capability to raise a few more hogs. I think they absolutely do, and they’re already the No. 1 exporter of chicken, they’re already the number one exporter of beef in the world. They’re coming for us,” Meyer said.

Meyer described the European Union, the United States, Canada and Brazil as the big four pork exporters, and in recent years, it has been in that order. Brazil appears be moving ahead of Canada, he said.

U.S. should overtake EU as leading pork exporter

Meyer also showed graphs that showed trends in pork exports in the major markets. The EU had consistently been on a downward trajectory, while the U.S. has been going upward.

A large part of the downward trend for EU is that production has declined, and the size of that decline is comparable to about one quarter of the United States’ total production. Much of that reduced production is a result of the EU’s own environmental policies.

“The EU has been the dominant force for pork exports for several years, but they have basically walked away,” Meyer said.

“The United States will very likely be the largest exporter in the world again this year. That’s the first time since 2014 that we’ve claimed that status. I think we’re going to stay there. I think we’ll probably stay ahead of the EU for the foreseeable future.”

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