ABIEC says 107 beef plants paralysed

ABIEC says 107 beef plants paralysed

Brazil's beef industry is coming to a standstill as a nine-day-old truckers' strike hits deliveries and disrupts exports for one of the world's biggest meat producers.

The strike began on 21 May in a dispute over inflated diesel prices, but despite concessions made by President Michel Temer shows no signs of ending. The impact is being felt across Brazil's industrial landscape, particularly in perishable foods and exports.

Meat giants BRF and Marfrig Global Foods said last Thursday they were experiencing a shortage of raw materials such as animal feed, with both firms either having to halt or pare back production..

Now, the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (ABIEC) said a total of 107 plants are ''paralysed'', with another two operating at less than 50% capacity. The industry body estimates 40,000 tons of beef have been prevented from being exported, starving suppliers of around US$170m in revenues. And that only represents preliminary data, with ABIEC noting that many losses have not yet been accounted for, but that they could add up to around $3bn.

ABIEC also said 3,750 loaded trucks are at a standstill on Brazil's highways and have been stuck for more than seven days laden with perishable cargoes. Those goods are likely to become unusable by tomorrow, it said.

As a means to try and put an end to the strike, President Temer cut diesel prices at the weekend for a period of 60 days, set a minimum fare that truck drivers should be paid for carrying freight, and instructed toll operators not to charge for unloaded vehicles. 

But truckers have not been convinced. Food wastages are mounting, including millions of birds and pigs that have been put to death due to a shortage of animal feed, with the count expected to keep rising as the strike lingers on.