January 29, 2004



Brazilian Chickens and Beef Head For Japan


Brazil has geared itself to fill up chicken and beef supply shortage in Japan, due to ban on imports from countries hit by bird flu or mad cow disease.


A delegation of Brazilian government officials and private-sector leaders was wrapping up a three-day visit to Tokyo that began on Monday with a flurry of meetings that emphasised the safety of Brazil's products.


Japan has imposed a ban on chicken imports from its No.1 and No.3 suppliers, Thailand and China, due to an outbreak of bird flu in those nations.


It has also suspended imports of beef from the United States, one of its top two suppliers along with Australia, due to the discovery of mad cow disease there last year.


Brazil is Japan's second largest supplier of chicken, but it exports only processed beef products to Japan, despite being one of the world's top exporters of beef.


"We understand the safety concerns of the Japanese government...and are ready to meet those concerns when increasing our exports," Masao Tadano, Brazil's Secretary for Animal Health and Plant Protection at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, told a news conference through an interpreter.


He added that there had been no cases of mad cow or foot-and-mouth disease reported in Brazil.


Tadano has been leading the delegation, which includes Brazilian leaders from the food and farm industries, in meetings with officials from the Japanese government and private companies.


Members of the delegation said they were prepared to increase exports of both chicken and beef to meet Japanese consumer demand, although they did not provide a figure.


Brazil exported 168,000 tonnes of chicken to Japan in calendar 2002, according to Japan's Agriculture Ministry.


Japan's ban on U.S. beef could open the door to imports of Brazilian beef.


Delegates emphasised that Brazil's cattle are not fed any animal protein, which is widely believed to be a possible cause of the brain-wasting disease officially known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).


The delegation also said Brazilian beef was price competitive, estimating that it could be supplied at a cost that was 70 percent lower than American beef, on a wholesale basis, although delegates didn't elaborate. Japan has lost more than 25 percent of its domestic beef demand and about 17 percent of its domestic chicken demand due to the ban on imports from various countries.


Japan's domestic consumption of beef was about 930,000 tonnes in the year ended March 2003. It consumed 1.744 million tonnes of chicken in the same year.


After leaving Japan, the Brazilian delegation will visit South Korea and Taiwan.

Video >

Follow Us