Brazil will have one more state exporting cattle beef. Up to the end of this week, the International Organization of Epizootics (OIE) should certify Acre, which is in the north of Brazil, as a state free of foot and mouth disease due to vaccination.
This is going to open the door of the foreign market to local cattle farmers and slaughterhouses. Today, 14 Brazilian states and the Federal District, where the country capital - Brasília - is located, already have international approval.
Representative of the countries that are members of the OIE have been meeting since Sunday, in Paris, France, in an assembly, and will vote, up to Friday, the resolution that changes the sanitary status of the Brazilian state.
A specialized committee from the organization, in reality, gave its positive verdict in January. The nations that are members of the OIE had 60 days to show themselves against the approval, but did not do so. Now, the only thing lacking is final formal approval.
According to the person responsible for the Animal Health Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Guilherme Marques, Acre could already sell canned, matured and boneless beef to other countries. Now the state can also sell live animals and raw beef with bones.
Not even the authorized products, however, were exported by the state, as most countries do not buy from regions with sanitary risk. Up to now, to the OIE, Acre was a state of sanitary risk, albeit low.
Within Brazil, products from Acre could already be traded as the state has been considered a foot and mouth disease free zone by the Ministry of Agriculture since January last year.
The only regions, however, that buy beef with bones from the state are those that have the same status or an inferior status, as is the case with some states in northeastern Brazil and of Amazonas, another state in the north of the country.
Acre currently has 1.98 million heads of cattle, according to figures supplied by the state Institute for Livestock and Forestry Defense (Idaf). The state slaughtered, last year, a total of 214,000 heads of cattle.
This year, according to the veterinary surgeon and regional manager of the Idaf, Kennedy Lins Nunes da Silva, a total of around 300,000 animals should be slaughtered.
He believes that there is potential for the export of 50% of this total. "Our intention is to find markets in Europe and Asia," stated Silva. Russia, according to him, has already shown interest in buying beef from the state.
One of the advantages that beef from Acre will have on the foreign market, according to Silva, is the fact that the state herd grazes, feeding on grass, and does not live in confinement. It is the so-called green cattle. "Green cattle beef is more valued on the foreign market," stated the vet.
The government of the state of Acre, Jorge Viana, and the president of the Idaf, Paulo Roberto Viana de Araújo, are accompanying the OIE meeting together with representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture. Silva believes that they will also return with good export contacts.
The regional manager of the Idaf believes that there should be new investment in local livestock after the change in status. Farmers from other states, where land is more expensive, or from regions considered sanitary risk, may show interest in local cattle farming.
Currently, over 50% of the income of the state of Acre comes from cattle farming, according to figures supplied by the Idaf. Apart from beef, the state also produces and sells cattle leather.
According to Marques, from the Ministry of Agriculture, to become a foot and mouth free zone through vaccination, the state must, for a period of two years, register no cases of the disease. The level of services offered by the state sanitary defense organization is also analyzed.
In the last sanitary campaign to take place in Acre, during the month of November 2004, 94.6% of the herd was vaccinated. The remaining animals were vaccinated later, during the state inspection.
ANBA - Brazil-Arab News Agency - www.anba.com.br