Russia’s ban on U.S. food products presents a massive opportunity for Brazil’s meat and grain exports, the country’s secretary of agriculture policy, Seneri Paludo, said
Brazil’s beef association Abiec said 58 of the plants were for beef - 27 for fresh meat, and 31 for processed.
Brazilian food companies, like chicken exporter BRF SA and meat packer JBS SA, stand to benefit.
Russia banned all imports of U.S. food products as well as fruit and vegetables from the European Union on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin ordered retaliation for Western sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.
Paludo said Brazil, the world’s top exporter of soybeans, beef and chicken, was already working to increase its exports of corn and soybeans to Russia.
“Russia has a huge potential as a consumer of agricultural commodities,” he told journalists, comparing the “window” opened by the U.S. embargo to the “revolution” for Brazil’s exports when the Chinese commodities market opened a decade ago.
Beef products topped Brazil’s exports to Russia in the first six months of the year, Brazilian trade data showed. Brazil ships the vast majority of its soybeans to China and sent just 352,849 tonnes of soy to Russia between January and June.
Hong Kong replaced Russia as the top buyer of Brazilian beef in 2013. Brazil’s other agricultural exports to Russia so far this year include sugar, coffee, orange juice and bananas.
The president of Brazil’s animal protein association ABPA said Brazil could cover U.S. chicken exports to Russia and would increase exports by 150,000 tonnes per year, though increasing pork exports would be harder.
Shares of BRF rose 0.5 percent in Sao Paulo trading while JBS fell 0.9 percent. The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (Reuters)