Beef and lamb producers share fears over no-deal Brexit trade tariffs

Red meat exporters in Wales say they are ready for Brexit – but are still worried about tariffs.

Lamb and beef exporters in Wales are as prepared as they can be for new paperwork and administration at the end of the Brexit transition period.

But they are very concerned about the impact of tariffs in the event of No-Deal, according to industry body Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

Welsh red meat exports are worth £200m a year, with more than 90 per cent of the trade being with the EU.

HCC, alongside other agencies, has engaged consistently with processors and exporters both large and small to help them be as ready as possible for changes which will come into force at the end of the year.

Over the past month, HCC has surveyed current exporters, and found that companies were aware of new regulations.

However, the research also discovered that potential WTO Tariffs in the event of No Deal – which on beef and lamb range from 40 per cent to 80 per cent depending on the type of meat cut – is a major headache for businesses as they plan for 2021.

Veggie Burgers Can Be Called Burgers, European Parliament Says

The European Parliament came together Friday to vote on a variety of issues, including whether a veggie burger is a burger.

Farmer lobbyists argued no. Environmentalists said yes.

The Parliament said yes, too, in a decisive vote against a measure that would ban plant-based meat alternatives from being referred to by the names of their meat counterparts. This means terms like steak, sausage and burger.

“Reason prevailed, and climate sinners lost,” Nikolaj Villumsen, a member of the European Parliament tweeted following the vote. “It’s worth celebrating with a veggie burger.”

It’s “common sense,” according to Camille Perrin, the senior food policy officer at the European Consumer Organization.

“Consumers are in no way confused by a soy steak or chickpea-based sausage, so long as it is clearly labelled as vegetarian or vegan,” she said in a statement.

Terms like “burger” and “steak” for plant-based foods help consumers understand how to integrate them into their meals, Perrin said.

Germany takes extra slice of EU pork sales after Asian ban

HAMBURG/LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Germany’s meat processors are sending pork chops and bacon previously earmarked for Asia to supermarkets across the European Union after China, South Korea and Japan banned German imports due to an outbreak of African Swine Fever in wild boars.

Pig prices in European Union’s top producer slid by around 14% immediately after the outbreak was confirmed on Sept. 10 but have since stabilised, albeit at a lower level, as the disease devastates pig herds across the globe.

Germany’s meat has since been effectively trapped in Europe, displacing supplies from rival producers including Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands who continue to sell huge volumes to China, where millions of animals have been slaughtered.

For German meat processors, the overall margins for selling in Europe are weaker than they would be to China, particularly as they have struggled to find markets for offcuts such as ears and feet which are more popular in Asia than Europe.

Opportunities to sell cuts such as shoulder meat and hams that were originally destined for Asian markets have, however, opened up as rivals focus on satisfying strong demand particularly from China which has a huge appetite for pork.

“We are seeing expansion but this is not enough to compensate for the losses,”

China sets 95% self-sufficiency target for pig meat


A document recently released by the Chinese Government highlights their ambitions for food security in livestock sectors.

The nation is now aiming to produce 95% of its pig meat demand domestically, achieved through a rapid rebuilding of its pig herd following the ASF epidemic. However, no timeframe was proposed for achieving this target.

While 95% may sound like an ambitious target, China prior to the ASF outbreak averaged at around 99% self-sufficiency for pig meat. This year, even with production expecting to fall by another 8.3% on the year due to ASF, self-sufficiency is estimated at 93%. This is because OECD-FAO also expect consumption of pig meat to fall this year by around 6.4%.

As such, according to the forecasts from the OECD-FAO Agricultural outlook (2020-29), China should reach is self-sufficiency target next year. The forecast assumes a 6.5% increase in production, with a, more modest, 4.6% uplift in consumption. However, these increases do assume that there will be no further waves of ASF among the pig herd.


By Felicity Rusk

Chinese pork imports skyrocket, but it may be short lived

Global pork demand rebounded following Covid-19 disruption in most geographies, yet supply remains constrained in many Asian markets, senior analyst of animal protein Rabobank, Christine McCracken has reported.

The imbalance continues to support strong export demand from the rest of the world, resulting in sharply higher pork values.

The enormous Chinese pork imports and double-digit increases in shipments to other Asian nations hit hard by African swine fever (ASF) have sustained the global pork industry since 2019, said Ms McCracken.

“Stronger Asian demand has been extraordinarily timely as it helped to offset lost domestic demand and weaker exports due to Covid-19. With this shift, China now accounts for over 40% of global pork imports, over four times larger than its nearest competitor,” she added

High lambing rates boost Scottish lamb crop

Productivity improvements have boosted the Scottish lamb crop in 2020 with the Scottish Government’s June census for 2020 indicating a lamb crop almost 70,000 head higher than last year.

“Scotland’s lamb crop now sits at just over 3.32m, an increase of 2.1 per cent,” said Iain Macdonald, Senior Economics Analyst with Quality Meat Scotland.

“A comparison against the average crop between 2015 and 2019 shows an increase of over 50,000 head. It was also the third highest of the past decade but still around 89,000 below the 2017 peak.”

Lambing rates have been trending higher over the past decade, with the four highest of the century coming in the past five years, highlighting productivity improvements made by sheep producers. The overall increase came in spite of a 0.9 per cent reduction in breeding ewe numbers to 2.45m.

“This was slightly surprising given the combination of the December 2019 census signalling a slight increase in the breeding flock at mating and the relatively good winter and spring weather.”

“Furthermore, GB ewe slaughter fell 13 per cent year-on-year between December and May. Given a year-on-year increase in prime lamb sales of 33 per cent and store lamb sales of 10 per cent in the period up to early October at Scottish auctions, an increased lamb crop is not surprising,” added Mr Macdonald.

NZ meat exports at risk

Nearly half of NZ’s meat exports are at risk unless there is urgent action by government to allow migrant workers to stay in New Zealand.

That’s the warning from NZ’s meat processing sector organisation the Meat Industry Association (MIA). It claims meat processing and exporting jobs are in jeopardy unless specialist migrants are allowed to remain in the country.

“New Zealand’s meat processing and exporting sector faces being forced to limit production and let people go unless the Government recognises the essential role of its skilled migrant workforce,” MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva says.

She warns that the loss of halal processing people – alongside hundreds of other essential meat workers – could result in reduced production and job losses in the sector.

Meat processing is NZ’s largest manufacturing industry and more than 45% of our total red meat exports are halal certified.

However, under the current rules, around a third of the country’s 250 essential halal processing workers will have to leave New Zealand next year due to the Government’s one-year stand-down policy.

“Most of the 42 halal processing plants in New Zealand now operate between 10-12 months per year,” Karapeeva explains. “A shortage of skilled halal processing people could result in production at many plants being limited to six months in the year, which would mean processing of livestock for farmers is severely disrupted and employees might be let go.”

She says under the Government’s one-year stand down policy, which applies to low skilled workers, 80 halal processing people and at least 260 other essential meat workers currently working in New Zealand will be forced to leave.


 by  David Anderson

China pork production shows signs of recovery

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s third-quarter pork production rose 18% from a year earlier to 8.4 million tonnes, according to Reuters calculations based on official data, pointing to the first signs of recovery in the world’s top producer.

It was the first quarter since July-September of 2018 to show a year-on-year increase in pork output, after an epidemic of African swine fever swept through the country’s hog herd, causing production to plunge.

The incurable disease hit China’s pig farms in August 2018, and reduced the breeding stock by an estimated 60% by late last year.

Pork output fell to a 16-year low of 42.6 million tonnes in 2019, and was expected to contract by another 20% this year, according to Rabobank.

But production in the first nine months of 2020 has only dropped 10.8% from a year earlier to 28.38 million tonnes, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.

“That’s higher than expected,” said Pan Chenjun, senior analyst at Rabobank, referring to the amount of pork produced.

Making a meal of it – England’s pubs ponder pasties to beat lockdown curbs

LONDON (Reuters) – Pub owners across England’s COVID-19 hotspots were on Tuesday pondering a question that could decide if they survive or sink due to the coronavirus lockdown – when is a pub a pub, and when does it become a restaurant?

The question has sparked a bizarre discussion about some of England’s favourite snacks: fries, chips and pork scratchings – roasted pork rind – do not count as a meal, according to a government minister quizzed on the status of the delicacies.

But Cornish pasties, a much-loved meat and vegetable pie that dates back to England’s ancient tin mines, do count as a meal.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a new tiered system of restrictions for England on Monday, with Liverpool and the surrounding Merseyside placed in the highest level, with pubs shut, to curb an acceleration in COVID-19 cases.

But under the government’s published advice, pubs can stay open in such areas “where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal.”

Pilgrim’s Pride strikes plea deal over U.S. chicken price-fixing charges

(Reuters) – U.S. poultry company Pilgrim’s Pride Corp said on Wednesday it will pay a $110.5 million fine after striking a plea deal with the Justice Department over price-fixing charges on chicken products.

The guilty plea makes Pilgrim’s Pride, mostly owned by Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA, the first U.S. chicken company to reach an agreement with the government over allegations that industry executives conspired to increase chicken prices from 2012 through 2019.

Pilgrim’s Pride agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to limit competition in chicken product sales, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing. A company statement said the agreement covered three chicken contracts with one U.S. customer.

As part of the deal, the department’s Antitrust Division will not bring more charges against Pilgrim’s Pride in the case, the statement said. Shares jumped 6.1% to $16.63 on Wednesday afternoon.

“We are encouraged that today’s agreement concludes the Antitrust Division’s investigation into Pilgrim’s,” Chief Executive Officer Fabio Sandri said.