Agrilogics
  • Yaakov Nahmias believes your days as a beef producer are numbered. Whether he and a cavalry of other alternative meat proponents are right might depend on you. 

  • Here we go again. The “sceptical environmentalist”, Bjorn Lomborg, has returned to warn against the excesses of an impending green dictatorship. The latest threat: taking away our burgers!

  • There is a lot of good going for the South African agricultural industry, which often gets overshadowed by policy discussions.

  • About a year before Sen. Cory Booker officially ran for president, he took a trip through the Midwest, meeting voters in the states he knew he’d need to win. One visit, in particular, sticks in his mind. It was in the home of a Republican farmer, a man who told Booker’s team he wasn’t sure he wanted to host the senator because “this is a Christian household.” Booker is Christian, but he knew what that meant: He’s vegan, liberal, an African American Democrat from Newark, New Jersey. Booker wasn’t the kind of politician this farmer saw as his own.

    Booker tried to loosen the guy up with dad jokes. “I told him his cows were udderly amazing,” Booker recalls. Nothing.

    The breakthrough came when the farmer began telling Booker about “the hell” he and his neighbors found themselves in. They used to sell their cows to five different companies, which meant if a buyer didn’t give them a good price or demanded practices that compromised their cows or land, they could go to another. But the industry had consolidated. Now there was one buyer, and that buyer controlled everything. The farmers had been reduced from entrepreneurs to serfs. Here, finally, was common ground. The farmer hated what his business had become, and so did Booker.

    This was a story Booker heard again and again. And it carried the seed of an idea. Booker is vegan, and so he knows, better than most, how unpopular veganism is — in one survey, only people with drug addiction were viewed more negatively. Asked during a September CNN town hall whether he thought others should become vegan, Booker said “no,” before pivoting to discuss the problems of factory farming. In an MSNBC interview, he laughed off the idea of a “radical vegan agenda,” reassuring voters he doesn’t think “government should be telling Americans what to eat.”

    But Booker realized there was a place that vegans and farmers could come together: Both of them hate the ways agribusiness had consolidated and mechanized the meat market, forcing farmers into using massive, cruel, and environmentally devastating confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.

    The agricultural industry has an unusual structure: Virtually every node in the industry is highly concentrated around a few megaproducers. That’s true for seeds, for pesticides, for machines, for production. And concentration has been increasing, and fast. In 1980, 34 percent of pigs were slaughtered by the four largest meatpacking companies. By 2015, that had nearly doubled, to 66 percent.

    But the food is still grown, and the animals still raised, on family farms. These farms are, in theory, independent, but in practice, they bear the risks of independence without the expected freedoms. The megaproducers they buy from and sell to have all the leverage; farmers are left with little choice save to accept the onerous, binding contracts they’re offered. As the Center for American Progress puts it, “growing corporate power has left relatively small farms and ranches vulnerable to exploitation at the hands of the oligopolies with which they do business.”

    Center for American Progress
    The results, for farmers, have been disastrous. In 2018, median farm income was negative $1,840 — meaning most farms lost money. Farmers saw a 50 percent drop in income since 2013. Adjusted for inflation, farm incomes have been stagnant for the past 30 years. As a result, farmers are buried in debt: The sector’s debt-to-income ratio is the highest it’s been since the farm crisis of the mid-’80s. (The National Pork Producers Council declined to comment for this story, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association did not reply to a request for comment.)

    As farmers have lost control of their livelihoods, they’ve also lost control of their animals, their crops, and their land. They have no choice but to contract with companies that dictate the way they raise their animals, setting farmers in competition with one another for production speeds and efficiency. The way you win that competition is to pack more animals into your sheds, pump them fuller of antibiotics so they don’t die from infections that flourish amid overcrowding, raise breeds that live lives of pain but grow with astonishing speed, create massive manure lagoons that poison streams and turn air acrid. The result is a brutal incentive to mechanize the process of livestock production in ways cruel to the animals, the farmers, and their communities.

    “Independent family farmers and ranchers are being driven off their land, driven into bankruptcy, being forced into a system of industrialized agriculture that our values don’t support,” says Joe Maxwell, a Missouri farmer, former lieutenant governor, and co-founder of the Family Farm Action Alliance. “It’s either join up with these transnational monopolies or we’re going to bankrupt you. That’s the reality of family agriculture today.”

    Booker realized that, as unlikely as it sounds, there was a space in the Venn diagram between the people who believe raising and killing animals for food is wrong and the people whose chose, as their livelihoods, to raise and kill animals for food. Both could agree that the way we are doing it now is cruel, both to animals and to people.

    “This is not how we raised livestock 70 years ago,” Booker says. “We’ve gone from raising animals in a far more humane, pasture-based model to one where we’re producing food in hyper-confined, concentrated, enclosed buildings that produce these massive lagoons of waste that are poisoning our streams and our rivers.”

    In December of 2019, while campaigning in Iowa, Booker unveiled the Farm System Reform Act. It’s sweeping legislation, but at its core it does four things:

    Imposes the liabilities and costs of pollutions, accidents, and disasters on the agricultural conglomerates that control the market rather than on the independent farmers who contract with them
    Creates a $100 billion fund to help farmers who are currently running CAFOs transition to other agricultural operations
    Strengthens the existing Packers and Stockyards Act to prohibit a range of contract terms and structures that let huge meat buyers put farmers in a race for the bottom while denying them political and legal recourse
    Booker dropped out of the presidential race in January. But his legislation kept picking up cosponsors. In May of 2020, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) signed on to the bill. That same month, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who co-chaired Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, sponsored a companion bill in the House with six co-sponsors, including Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus.

    Factory farms abuse workers, animals, and the environment. Cory Booker has a plan to stop them.
    “For years and years, giant multinational corporations have been crushing competition in the agricultural sector and seizing key markets while regulators have looked the other way,” Warren says. “The Covid-19 crisis is making it even easier for Big Ag to get even bigger and gobble up small farms — leaving farmers out in the cold and consumers facing higher costs and fewer choices.”

    “My interest in it came because I was spending time with Bernie Sanders in Iowa,” Khanna says. “I saw these factory farms, and I saw miles and miles of land where you couldn’t see farmers. All you could see was machinery and runoff. And when I spoke to actual farmers, they talked about how the people who owned these farms weren’t in Iowa. They had no control over the environmental impact. They felt they didn’t have control over their own economic destiny.”


    There is a coalition emerging here, one that could lead to overdue reforms in our food system, but one that also has profound things to say about our politics.

    The politics of animal — and human — suffering
    David Coman-Hidy is the president of the Humane League, an animal welfare organization. In May, I had a conversation with him I’ve had trouble getting out of my head. My question was innocuous. I wanted to know what he was working on. “Switching from live shackling to the atmospheric killing of chickens,” he replied.

    I wasn’t familiar with these terms, and maybe you aren’t, either. And I’m sorry for what I’m going to force you to imagine as I explain them. “The process of how we slaughter broiler chickens is the cruelest thing imaginable,” says Coman-Hidy. These are, functionally, malnourished, young birds. Workers flip them upside down to shackle them by their legs. In many cases, the process dislocates their hips.

    Chickens aren’t meant to be upside-down. They have no diaphragm. Shackled and inverted, their organs crush into their lungs, making it hard for the birds to breathe. The point of the shackling is to put them on a conveyor that drags them through electrified water, stunning them before the kill. But the birds panic, thrashing in wild terror. Some of them miss the water, or the stun setting is too low. Those birds have their throats cut while they’re still conscious, and then they’re pulled through boiling water to defeather them. If the blade misses the bird, the bird boils alive.

    Coman-Hidy is vegan; he’s devoted his life to reducing animal suffering. Didn’t it feel strange, I asked him, to become part of this machine whose very existence he loathes? Even if atmospheric killing was more humane, wouldn’t it unnerve him to become one of the people shaping the architecture of animal slaughter?


    “The thought experiment that helped me is if I could die, or have a member of my family die, by being euthanized by gas, or have what I just described happen to them, what would I give to get the gas?” He replied. “And the answer is everything.”

    The meat we eat is a pandemic risk, too
    There are few movements as alienated from the consensus position as the animal suffering movement. They look at the world and see tens of billions of animals being tortured and slaughtered in ways that poison the earth, warm the planet, and — as we are seeing with particular clarity now, as scores die daily from a pandemic virus that likely began in a meat market — harm human health. The practices of industrial animal agriculture are so cruel that you can’t describe them in polite company, so traumatizing that suicide and abuse are too-common worker hazards, so disturbing that agriculture companies pass laws criminalizing efforts to show the world where their meals are made. It is a structure of suffering with no bottom, no end, and what is most astonishing about it is that almost everyone simply treats it as normal.

    And so the animal suffering movement has to practice, in the truest and most challenging sense of the word, politics. They have to find common purpose with those they disagree with profoundly. To have any chance of changing a system they loathe, they must become part of it, even complicit in it. They don’t get to realistically hope for success anytime soon, for a world they could be comfortable in, for an end to the horror they see all around them. They get to hope chickens will die from gas rather than shackled upside down with their throats cut. And they are finding that the best way to get to that world is to focus on human suffering, too.

    The coronavirus has created coalitions that didn’t exist before it by laying bare the close connection between animal and human suffering. Meatpacking plants have been epicenters of outbreaks, with the suffering concentrated among immigrant laborers who then transmit the virus to their communities. The League of United Latin American Citizens called for “meatless May Mondays” to protest conditions in the slaughterhouses.

    “Until the meat industry, federal and state governments protect the lives of essential workers at all meat processing facilities in a federally mandated and verifiable manner, LULAC will call for boycotts of meat products,” the organization’s president, Domingo Garcia, said in a statement.

    It’s in the intersection of human and animal suffering that the animal rights community sees opportunity. Farmers and vegan activists may not agree on the world they want to see, but they can agree that the way both farmer and animals were treated in the past is preferable to the way they are treated today. LULAC and the Humane League aren’t pursuing the same long-term goals, but better conditions for workers would also mean better conditions for animals.

    How much change would the Farm System Reform Act bring?
    In reporting for this piece, I’ve asked everyone the same question: If the Farm System Reform Act passed, how much would really change?


    “It doesn’t ban animal agriculture,” says Leah Garcés, the president of Mercy for Animals. “If you look for the part of the bill banning cages and crates, it’s not in there. But it would end animal agriculture as we know it. It wouldn’t let the system go forward as it does.”

    To Garcés, the key element of the bill is the reversal of liability. She’s spent years working with chicken farmers who’ve been driven by contract terms and debt loads to accept practices that repulse them, and who find themselves paying the bill when disease cuts through their flock, or pollution gushes into the waterways that feed the community.

    “Currently, integrators” — that’s your Tysons and Smithfields — “have created a system where all the bad parts of animal farming are on the back of the farmer or taxpayer,” Garcés says. “The bill flips that: ‘Integrator, you need to pay for all the pollution.’ I think that would bankrupt the current system if they had to pay for it.”

    In her work with farmers, Garcés has found many of them want to escape the industrial animal agriculture business, because they appalled by how they have to treat their animals, their land, or both. But the integrators load them up with so much debt that they have no way out but through. So the debt forgiveness and transition assistance thrills her. “The biggest hurdle to getting farmers to transition is the debt,” she says. “I think hundreds of farmers would sign up for this. They just need a bridge.”

    Maxwell, of the Family Farm Action Alliance, agrees. “Most of these farmers are just cogs in a big machine,” he says. “Once they borrow money from one of these big companies, they get stuck on a treadmill of poverty and debt that they can’t get off of. That’s why 70 percent of us live at or below the federal poverty level. So many farmers are looking for ways off that treadmill, and that’s what this bill offers.”


    There are two wild cards here. One is the rapid rise of plant- and lab-based meats. By 2040, when the Farm System Reform Act is fully implemented, how rapidly have those technologies advanced? How cheap is an Impossible Burger? How tasty is lab-grown pork, or 3D-printed steak? Animal meat is so cheap in part because the true costs are hidden — they are absorbed by the suffering of the animals, the unpriced pollution flowing into communities, the quiet traumas and injuries carried by workers. If a bill like this made animal-based meat more expensive, it might accelerate the transition to other forms of meat. That’s certainly a quiet hope in the animal rights crowd.


    The danger, though, is that the bill could drive production overseas or to Latin America, where standards are lower and even crueler, more dangerous practices prevail. The bill establishes country-of-origin labeling, but there’s little reason to believe that would be much of a hurdle — Americans already buy strawberries from Mexico and steak from Brazil.

    The question is what Americans really want, and how easy it will be for them to get it. There is a deep ambivalence in our relationship to the food that ends up on our plates: We want food from small farms, where workers and animals are treated well, where the land is respected, and we want it all to be incredibly cheap and absurdly plentiful.

    The average American consumed 222 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2018, according to the USDA. Right now, big agribusiness producers try to ease consumer consciences through misdirection: Their packaging and advertising emphasize small farms, their ag-gag laws and contract provisions choke off the flow of actual information, the massive scale and mechanization of their processes hold down prices, and their political contributions repel real oversight.

    “The tilt in America in the last 30 years of policy has been toward consumerism,” Khanna says. “We will do everything possible to lower prices. We won’t care about jobs, real wages, or the environment. My argument is that we ought to care enough about farmers [having] a decent livelihood, about environmental consequences, about consequences to communities, so even if this means there’s a slight increase in the price of meat, that’s worth it.”

    The Farm System Reform Act won’t end all the abuses of factory farming, all the environmental degradation it causes, all the economic exploitation faced by farmers. But it’s a start. And if the odd-bedfellows coalition Booker is trying to build materializes, and finds real political footing, profound change is possible.

    “We can’t vilify each other,” Booker says. “If we can’t have compassion for people in these broken systems, then we’re not going to have the compassion or coalitions to end these systems themselves.”

  • Cultured meat is a subject in concerning all animal production chains. That became clear at a conference on this topic in Paris, France on November 18, 2021. That was 1 year after it was approved in Singapore to sell nuggets from in vitro production of chicken muscle tissue.

    Living rise to the production of a new product covering different names (artificial meat, cultured meat, in vitro meat, etc.), cell culture techniques initially developed for medical applications are booming in the field of livestock.

    Various experts met mid-November at a conference organised by the French Academy of Agriculture and the French Association of Zootechnics in partnership with the French Veterinary Academy and the French Nutrition Society. They shared their opinions about the theme of cultured meat. 5 major questions have been highlighted below.

    How much interest is there for cultivated meat initiatives?

    Since the presentation in the Netherlands in 2013 of the first in vitro muscle tissue for food, a growing number of start-ups have become interested in those techniques with significant investments.

    Céline Laisney, director of AlimAvenir, said, “More than a billion US dollars have been invested since 2016 by 80 start-ups.” She added that cultured meat techniques concern all animal products, so meat, fish and milk.

    Associate researcher Marie-Pierre Ellies-Oury added: “Cultivated meat could experience a real rise to represent 10% of total world meat production by 2030 and 35% by 2040.” She is attached to UMRH, the herbivore research unit of France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE). She is also attached to Agro Sciences.

    More messages like those were shared by Gabriel Lesveque-Tremblay is co-founder and CTO of Orbillion, an American start-up created in 2019 to bring different cultured meat products to the market. He said, “The animal protein market is growing with 1% per year, and by 2030 cultured meat could provide half of this increase with implications for multiple sectors. The first authorisation to market cultured meat products could take place by 2023 in the United States.”

    He noted the existence in Washington, DC of strong lobbying by a group of meat producers (Alliance for Meat, Poultry, and Seafood Innovation) with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    What is cultivated meat exactly?

    Didier Toubia is co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms, a leading company in the cultured meat sector, headquartered in Rehovot, Israel, with offices in Europe and the US. He explained the process of production begins with the selection of starter cells from a small initial sample of cells taken from a healthy living animal. Those cells will then develop in bioreactors equipped with a medium rich in nutrients (sugars, amino acids, lipids, vitamins, etc.). Then the extracellular matrix in the animal’s body is replaced by a plant-based matrix, which provides a structure on which cells grow, organise, and form muscle tissue.


    “Cultured meat offers endless possibilities of products and concepts,” said Lesveque-Tremblay even though the latter believes that cultured meat will complement traditional agriculture.

    For Toubia, “Cultivated meat could bridge the gap between the limited production capacities of organic agriculture and the growing global demand for meat, while allowing the transition to greater resilience and sustainability.”

    What challenges are there for cultivated meat?

    In addition to controlling manufacturing processes and lowering their costs, the challenges faced by start-ups engaged in these new technologies described as the “3rd agricultural revolution” by Toubia are numerous: ethical, regulatory, environmental, without forgetting consumer acceptance.

    “Is this new product really meat?,” wondered Ellies-Oury, stating that “muscle” (mainly made up of well-organised muscle fibres) and “meat” are 2 different concepts. She continued, “The start-ups have succeeded, with a great deal of communication, especially with the help of the media, in imposing in everyday language the name “meat” for these cultivated muscle fibres.” She presented the results of survey showing that Brazilian or Chinese consumers are more ready to regularly consume cultivated meat products than those in France.

    How far is cultivated meat advanced?

    Laisney pointed out that several factories have already emerged in several countries (USA, Israel, Qatar, Singapore).

    Toubia said, “We have just completed the construction of our first plant which will produce 8 to 10 tonnes per year by 2023, and we are banking on several thousand tonnes per year by 2025-2026.”

    What are the chances for animal nutrition business?

    Finally, for the animal nutrition suppliers, those cultured meat projects could also represent a development niche to fulfil the needs in ingredients of the bioreactors, as Pierre-André Geraert, scientific marketing director of Adisseo, present at this conference, explained: “It is opportune for any significant player in the production of animal proteins to better understand all the possibilities and developments in production methods. The development of industrial cellular meats will of course require complementary nutritional solutions, competitive and in significant quantities, to support production ambitions and it is relevant to be concerned about them now.”

  • Scientists at the University of Oxford say governments should consider imposing price hikes on red meat - such as beef, lamb and pork - to reduce consumption.

    They say it would save lives and more than £700m in UK healthcare costs, according to new research.

    So why can red meat be harmful?
    Various research has linked eating red meat to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

    In 2015 the World Health Organization warned that processed meats, like bacon, sausages and ham, could cause cancer, while unprocessed red meat could also increase your risk.

    And eating lots of red meat doesn't just have an impact on your own health.

    Researchers at the University of Oxford said meat eaters were also increasing the burden on the health service and the economy, due to a loss of workforce from ill health.

    There is also a growing awareness of the environmental impact of eating red meat.

    The high levels of land and water use and carbon emissions associated with its production mean cutting down is one of the key ways individuals can help tackle climate change.


    How could a tax work? And what would it do to prices?


    Researchers say a meat tax could cut consumption of processed meat by about two portions per week in high-income countries.

    In the UK, the study suggests a tax of 14% on red meat and 79% on processed meat.

    This would mean the price of a 227g Tesco Sirloin Steak would increase from £3.80 to £4.33.

    And for a pack of eight pork sausages from Sainsbury's the price would increase from £1.50 to £2.69.


    Earlier this year the government introduced a sugar tax on soft drinks, meaning manufacturers have to pay a levy on high-sugar drinks.

    The tax has already had an effect, with some leading brands reducing the sugar content in their products to avoid the levy.

    But whether it means consumers buy fewer sugary drinks remains to be seen.

    Will the sugar tax work?
    The impact of charging 5p for single-use carrier bags suggests financial incentives can change behaviour.

    The number of plastic bags handed out by supermarkets in England has drastically decreased since the change was introduced.

    However the government has been less keen on the idea of a "latte levy" on disposable coffee cups.

    Ministers prefer the idea of shops offering discounts to customers bringing their own cups rather than an extra charge.

    What are the arguments against?
    Attempts by the government to tell people what to do don't always go down well.

    Christopher Snowdon, from the Institute for Economic Affairs, said taxing food was "the next battleground for the nanny state".

    Last month climate minister Claire Perry told BBC News it was not the government's place to tell people they can't eat steak and chips, despite the environmental impact.

    Mr Snowdon also argued it would be "absurd" to raise the cost of living through a meat tax.

    There's also the concern that it targets foods bought by those on lower incomes.

    And then there is the question of whether it would work.

    The cost of a fry-up would be more expensive, but would this actually discourage meat-lovers from buying their favourite foods?

  • Two recent papers by British and other scientists are calling for big changes in the type and amounts of meat we eat. One of these papers, co-authored by Professor Mark Sutton from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, calls for a 50% reduction in total meat consumption.

  • Becoming allergic to meat turns your life upside down. Known as alpha-gal allergy, the condition dictates what you can eat, wear, how you relax, and even which medicines are safe. Is research finally starting to catch up?

  • Recycling or taking the bus rather than driving to work has its place, but scientists are increasingly pointing to a deeper lifestyle change that would be the single biggest way to help the planet: eating far less meat.

  • As the scale and impacts of climate change become increasingly alarming, meat is a popular target for action. Advocates urge the public to eat less meat to save the environment. Some activists have called for taxing meat to reduce consumption of it.

  • Experts say there’s no reason to fear eating meat now, and there may even be a positive spinoff for the consumer.

  • Everybody loves a list of predictions for the coming year, so here’s mine. These are the trends I expect to define biotech in agriculture during 2019. 

  • A number of factors played together to create the perfect storm leading to the sharp decline in livestock prices during the past week. Consumers are under pressure due to our weak economic growth and relatively high energy prices and cannot pay more for protein.

  • Does the idea of being served ‘old’ beef gross you out? Well it shouldn’t, because it’s actually a good thing. Here’s everything you need to know about aging beef.

  • Beyond Meat is a plant-based meat company raising money in public equity markets. The company has announced preliminary pricing for its shares, and the stock should begin trading in about a week.

  • People may be cutting back too much on the amount of red meat they eat; with a major opinion poll showing over half of the British public think they should only be eating half the recommended amount. 

    A poll by market research company BMG research, commissioned by Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) showed 53 per cent of people believed recommended intake was half the 500g a week, or 70g a day, in government guidelines.

     It has prompted some nutritional experts to question whether media coverage urging people to cut down on meat consumption has gone too far and point out some groups are deficient in the key nutrients red meat can provide.

    Independent nutritionist, Dr. Zoë Harcombe, said: “Red meat is so nutrient dense that we should be embracing it at any opportunity.

     “A 150g steak would provide half the daily zinc requirement, while making an excellent contribution to our B vitamin and iron intakes.

     “With iron being the world’s most widespread nutrient deficiency, we restrict red meat at our peril, girls and women especially, as our requirements are higher.”

    HCC’s opinion poll did show most adults were aware of some of the most important nutrients from lamb, beef and pork.

    72% of respondents identified red meat was high in protein, which can support growth and maintenance of muscles.

     56% knew that it was a source of iron which was an essential mineral required to help the red blood cells transport oxygen to the rest of the body and also assists in energy production.

     

     

    HCC Consumer Executive Elwen Roberts said: “HCC’s campaigns always encourage consumers to get the right facts on what constitutes a healthy, balanced diet.

     

    “We will continue to emphasise the positive contribution that lean Welsh Lamb, Welsh Beef and pork in moderation can bring to the diet of all demographic groups.

     

    “The nutrients they contain are easily absorbed by the body, and have been proven to support mental health performance, fight tiredness and boost the immune system.

     

    “Our recent consumer campaigns have tried to drive home this message by working with leading sports stars such as Shane Williams and Elinor Snowsill to emphasise the high protein content in red meat, and its suitability as part of the diet of people with active lifestyles.”

  • Beef: Week-on-week US prices for rump, striploin and brisket increased by 2.1%, 6.3% and 0.3% respectively. US Chuck prices experienced  the largest price decline this week decreasing by 6.1% compared to last week.

  • With South Africa’s meat prices being in deflation over the past few months, one would easily assume that the beef industry has recovered from the 2015/16 drought which led to a reduction in the herd. Figure 1 illustrates South Africa’s cattle herd, and boy, we are not back to levels we were before the drought.

    So, where did the illusion that cattle herd has somewhat recovered come from?

    You see, the years following this period of higher cattle slaughtering when farmers couldn’t feed their stock — 2017 and 2018 — was for rebuilding the herds, which meant a reduction in slaughtering pace. This process was reflected on meat prices, which at the time were rising double digits, particularly from February 2017 until March 2018. Thereafter, we started to see some cooling off in meat prices, as slaughtering activity, on a monthly basis, began to gain momentum, albeit not back at levels during 2015/16 drought. In March 2019, South Africa’s meat prices were actually in deflation, registering -1.1%, according to data from Stats SA.

    But the factors leading to the deflation in meat prices wasn’t a recovery in slaughtering activity, but the ban on South Africa’s red meat exports following the outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease in Limpopo earlier in the year. The theory at the time, simplistically, was that a ban on exports would lead to increased domestic meat supplies, and therefore a decline in prices. It had less to do with the herd rebuilding progress.

    Because of this, the meat price deflation story could soon be over because of the following. First, a number of African and Middle East countries have recently lifted the ban on South Africa’s beef exports.  This means the impact of the foot-and-mouth disease might not be as severe as initially expected. Second, it is worth noting that South Africa’s cattle slaughtering activity is slowing, and this could add support to prices in the near term. Third, aside from red meat, poultry products prices could lift somewhat in the coming months, as there is likely to be an uptick in import tariffs.


    Follow me on Twitter (@WandileSihlobo). E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • The global turkey meat market revenue amounted to $544M in 2017, dropping by -11.8% against the previous year.

  • Listeria in processed meat products from South Africa, E. Coli in romaine lettuce in the US, Salmonella in eggs across Europe and Campylobacter in chicken liver pâté in Australia.

Agrilogics

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