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Beef seeks alternative markets at the close of Algeria | Economy

Cows on a farm.
Cows on a farm.

Operators in the beef sector dedicated to the export of live animals and meat have been forced to open up or boost sales in other already consolidated markets after the halt in the granting of licenses by the Algerian authorities. This change of position, they point out in the sector, although there was no official communication, occurred as a result of the Spanish decision to support Morocco’s proposals in the Sahara conflict. As it is a state business, it is the government that grants the purchase authorizations.

Algeria has traditionally been a major importer of Spanish beef, both live animals and meat, although in recent times cuts were already being recorded. On an average production of about 700,000 tons, the export of meat rises to about 220,000 tons. Algeria accounted for almost 20,000 tons, while in live animals, out of a maximum volume of 190,000 heads exported, more than 25,000 corresponded in recent times to purchases from that country.

With the new situation, says Sebastián Hernández, one of the main operators in this market, exports are trying to divert to other countries in North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf such as Lebanon, Libya, Jordan or Saudi Arabia, with whom A logistics structure is already in place to provide, in many cases, from the animals to the sale of feed and straw. The gap left by Spain in live animals is being occupied mainly by France, while in meat it comes from third countries, basically South American.

The operators estimate that the measure should not have a very negative effect on the sector, to the extent that Spain currently has high prices for beef due to the reduction in supply and this did not facilitate sales abroad. The ships loaded with animals that periodically departed from various Mediterranean ports, such as Tarragona or Murcia, have been and continue to be a key outlet for adjusting supply in the internal market.

In the medium term, a greater cut in production is expected due to the lower number of animals entering the feedlots, especially from France, some 400,000, due to the increase in production costs, especially feed prices and their difficulty in passing on the same in the sale prices. This adjustment in the entries of animals in feedlots is warned from the sector that it could lead to price increases for consumers within half a year.

He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.

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