SOUTH American beef producers have filled the void left by Zimbabwe after its beef exports were banned by the European Union (EU), the businessdigest heard this week.
Zimbabwe’s beef exports to the EU were banned in 2001 following an outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease.
The outbreak is suspected to have been caused by uncontrolled movement of animals during the chaotic land reform.
Though details of the countries servicing Zimbabwe’s beef quota were not available this week, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico have been exporting beef to the EU market.
Zimbabwe’s annual quota to the EU remains unchanged at 9100 tonnes and the country can take up the quota once the disease is fully under control.
EU spokesman Josiah Kusena said Zimbabwe’s quota remains unchanged “despite the fact that it is only partly used or not used at all, as was the case in the last couple of years.
“The fact that Zimbabwe is no longer exporting beef gives no benefit to other beef exporters in the Beef Protocol as those countries are not filling their quotas,” he said.
“Indirectly, the quantities exported out of Zimbabwe some years ago may now have been replaced by suppliers from South America.”
Before the ban, Zimbabwe was earning US$38 million annually from beef exports to the European Union (EU). Head of the EU delegation in Harare, Francesca Mosca, said last year that “three years after the ban Zimbabwe is yet to invite Brussels to come and verify whether Harare had implemented EU-recommended disease control measures that could see the ban lifted”.
The measures included complying with veterinary regulations of the EU. Analysts say even if the ban was lifted it would take the country a long time to meet the quota as the beef herd has been decimated by the chaotic land reform. Zimbabwe’s herd has plummeted by a staggering 82% to 250 000 from a peak of 1,4 million.