October 24, 2011

 

Paraguay resumes beef exports

 

 

Paraguayan meatpackers were allowed to resume beef exports on Friday (Oct 21), a month following an export ban due to foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

 

The outbreak was a tough blow for the fast-growing beef industry in the South American country, a top 10 global exporter until September. Meatpacking plants were paralysed during the ban, prompting the central bank to cut its economic growth forecast.

 

Friday's decision to lift the suspension was announced in a statement by the Senacsa national veterinary service. The freeze will remain in place for ranchers in the area where the highly contagious disease was detected.

 

Foot-and-mouth is one of the world's most serious infectious diseases of farmed animals, though it is not harmful to humans.

 

Beef is Paraguay's number two export after soy, and the livestock industry accounts for about 10% of gross domestic product. The central bank said the foot-and-mouth outbreak would shave 0.2-0.3 percentage point off growth this year.

 

The meatpacking industry estimates its losses so far at between US$300-400 million.

 

Key buyer Russia will keep buying Paraguayan beef, officials said, adding that they hoped for progress on talks to resume shipments to Chile.