Brazil poised to replace Ukrainian, Russian meat suppliers

Brazilian meatpackers eye potential developments in the European market
calendar icon 8 March 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

Soaring grain prices in the wake of Russia's attack on Ukraine are hurting Brazilian meatpackers, but trade disruptions facing Ukrainian and Russian meat producers may be an opportunity to boost Brazil's share in global trade, industry sources said.

Russia and Ukraine together account for about 29% of global wheat exports and 19% of corn exports, both of which can be used as livestock feed, reported Reuters.

Depending on how the situation plays out, the conflict may also lead to Brazil accessing markets served by competitors. According to the sources, one potential development is Europe scrapping a ban on several Brazilian meatpackers imposed in 2018 after a food sector scandal.

"The industry is prepared to cover gaps and support the food security of nations that may be short-supplied by the likely suspension or decrease in exports of chicken and pork from Russia and Ukraine," said Ricardo Santin, president of meat lobby ABPA.

ABPA, which represents companies including JBS and BRF in Brazil, the largest global exporter of chicken meat, said Russia and Ukraine compete with Brazilians in important markets of Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

If Ukrainian exporters stop shipping meats amid difficulties caused by the war, Santin said Europe will face a "great challenge."

According to ABPA, there are about 20 Brazilian plants currently suspended by the Europeans.

Ukraine's poultry export totals about 430,000 tonnes per year, representing some 10% of what Brazil traded in 2021, said Alcides Torres, director at Scot Consultoria.

"If Europe really needs Brazilian meat, it is clear that these suspended slaughterhouses .... will be reviewed quickly," Torres said.

Melanie Epp

Melanie Epp is a freelance agricultural journalist from Ontario, Canada.

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