SAO PAULO, July 15 (Reuters) - Brazilian meat companies are
poised to increase production and exports this year as sales to
China continue to exceed expectations and the COVID-19 pandemic
has failed to deter local food processors, according to ABPA, a
lobby group representing pork and chicken suppliers.
The local companies, which have kept production virtually at
a normal pace even after plants suffered from outbreaks of the
respiratory disease, project a potential 33% rise of pork
exports, to up to 1 million tonnes this year, and a potential 5%
growth in chicken exports, to 4.450 million tonnes, ABPA
executives told a press conference on Wednesday.
While ABPA members have reassured Chinese buyers local
products are "COVID-19 free" following outbreaks at certain
production units, it said meat cargoes destined for the Asian
country are not being tested ahead of shipping.
"We are certain meat does not transmit the disease," said
Ricardo Santin, ABPA executive director.
U.S. poultry exporters are not testing shipments to China
either, said Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg
Export Council. He said U.S. poultry products are still entering
China and that he is unaware of China rejecting shipments
because exporters did not make assurances that they were free of
"We know that poultry cannot be a vector for the virus,
ABPA has reaffirmed a June estimate of selling about 1
million tonnes of Brazilian pork and chicken meat to China in
2020, up from 834,000 tonnes last year.
To support the rise, Brazil's 2020 pork output may grow by
as much as 6.5%, reaching a potential 4.250 million tonnes this
year, while chicken output could grow by 4% to 13.8 million
China imported almost 600,000 tonnes of both types of meats
from Brazil through end-June, as local ports suffered no
disruptions amid the pandemic.
Brazil has 64 plants approved to sell chicken and pork to
China, but four were recently banned because of outbreaks of
COVID-19 among meat plant workers in Rio Grande do Sul state.
The Brazilian government is working to reverse the Chinese
bans, ABPA said.
Also, the sector has hired an estimated 20,000 people after
the pandemic started, ABPA said, as it described measures to
counter labor shortages and production snags.
(Reporting by Ana Mano; Additional reporting by Tom Polansek in
Editing by Marguerita Choy)