“We’re at ease with the decision as long as we know it’s in line with World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) rulings in terms of foot and mouth disease,” said Red Meat Producers Organisation CEO Gerhard Schutte.
“At this stage, only about 8% of beef is imported, and 5% comes from neighbouring countries, mainly Namibia and Botswana. Only 3% comes from overseas.”
The availability of cheaper Brazilian beef was not expected to depress local prices significantly. “We don’t think lifting the ban will rock the boat too much. They still have to pay import duties. There is quite a big demand for red meat,” said Schutte.
He said government had signalled its intention to lift the ban months ago and the news that it would be lifted within a few weeks hadn’t come as a surprise. “Brazil is a big country when it comes to exports. They’ve got about 220 million head of cattle,” he said.
Grain SA CEO Dr Kobus Laubscher said South American countries were leading the way into terms of competitive production.