SAO PAULO, April 11 Brazil's total beef exports
rose in March despite a food safety scandal that caused many
countries to question the quality of its meat products and
impose temporary import bans.
Total beef exports, including fresh and processed varieties,
reached 125,000 tonnes in March, up 20 percent from February,
beef exporters association Abiec said in a statement on Tuesday.
Revenues reached $501 million, up 22 percent from the prior
month but down 3 percent from the same month a year ago,
according to the statement.
The results suggest the initial success of the Brazilian
government's campaign to reassure buyers of the quality of the
country's meat in the wake of a police bribery probe that
accused sanitation inspectors and companies of conspiring to
sell rancid products, falsifying export documents or failing to
inspect meat-packing plants.
"The results in March show the resilience of the Brazilian
beef industry," said Antônio Camardelli, Abiec president. The
investigation "did not reduce average export volumes as many
destination countries quickly suspended their bans," he said.
The government said exports should return to normal levels
between April and May as the country's efforts to reverse import
bans from key clients quickly bear fruit.
To be sure, total beef export volumes were down 11 percent
at 140,000 tonnes in March from the same month a year ago, Abiec
said, citing trade ministry data.
As the scandal fades, Abiec said it will focus on expanding
the presence of Brazilian beef products "on strategic markets
and negotiate to open up new ones," Camardelli said.
Currently Brazil's main meat buyers are Hong Kong, China,
Russia and the European Union, which imported about half of all
the country's beef products last month, Abiec data show.
Brazilian fresh beef exports totaled $403.5 million in
March, down 2 percent on an annual basis, while volumes slumped
11.3 percent to 98,200 tonnes, according to the Brazil's trade
(Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Bill Rigby)