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Meat sector has a taste of success

Updated: 2013-02-04 07:54
(China Daily)

 Meat sector has a taste of success

Frigorfico San Jacinto is a leading exporter of gourmet beef and lamb brands El Rancho and Nirea.

Meat sector has a taste of success

Uruguay's premium-quality beef and lamb are among world's best produce say cattle farmers

Blessed with a climate and terrain perfect for cattle grazing and the production of fine meat, Uruguay has three times as many cows as people and its long-established beef industry nurtures the country's most important export product.

With meat an important part of the national identity, it is not surprising that the country holds the Guiness world record for the largest barbecue ever made, from 13 tons of steel and 12,000 kilos of beef.

Uruguay's meat industry boasts a highly-efficient and reassuring tracking system and traceability mechanisms that allow farmers and handlers to track individual animals throughout the bovine's lifetime.

Animals are reared naturally and with no growth hormones as this is outlawed, and the country's agro-industrial chain benefits from an institutional framework that ensures the health of animals, meat safety and commercial quality required by buyers.

In 2011, more than 50,000 farmers and around 40,000 livestock producers generated more than 600,000 tons of meat, of which around 450,000 tons were exported and produced foreign exchange revenues of over $1.6 billion.

China is a leading importer of Uruguayan beef and livestock-related products such as wool, leather and fur. Other key markets include Russia, the EU and the vast Mercosur market.

"Uruguay exports 70 percent of its meat, 75 percent of its milk, 95 percent of its rice, 70 percent of its wheat, 97 percent of its soybeans and 50 percent of its citrus fruit," said Tabare Aguerre, minister of Livestock, agriculture and fisheries.

"The diversity of our livestock and agricultural products makes us competitive, while our successful animal identification system has helped the meat industry develop at a rapid rate. This traceability system is a powerful tool for disease control and the technology also enables us to control the quality."

Created in 1984, the National Meat Institute, also known as INAC, advises the government on all meat industry matters and is responsible for promoting, regulating, coordinating and monitoring the production, processing, marketing, storage and transportation of meat.

"We are focusing on producing excellent value-added products and are targeting niche markets where consumers are willing to pay extra for the additional taste and quality," said Luis Fratti, INAC chairman.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was served a fine cut of Uruguayan beef during his recent visit to Montevideo and INAC also exhibited at a major trade expo in Shanghai earlier this year where thousands of delegates enjoyed its wide range of meat. Uruguayan beef exports to China are currently worth around $112 million per year.

As the host of the 2016 World Meat Congress, Uruguay is looking forward to showcasing its premium meat products to the most important figures in the global industry, especially as the 2014 edition will be held in Beijing.

Premium producer

Dedicated to the production of world-class beef, lamb and other meats, Frigorfico San Jacinto-Nirea S.A is a leading figure in Uruguay's meat industry and the company's Nirea and El Rancho brands are sold widely in many international markets.

The forward-thinking company supplies leading restaurant chains elsewhere in Latin America with its award-winning range of fine meats that are 100 percent sourced from local cattle ranches.

Through investment in modern technology and an exclusive network of livestock buyers, San Jacinto benefits from direct and personalized contact with producers, exchanging key information for the continuous improvement in the quality of the meat it processes.

With an outstanding reputation among local and foreign consumers, San Jacinto has grown into one of Uruguay's most successful exporters of bovine meat and this success has been repeated in the lamb sector through the production of premium lamb cuts.

"Nirea boasts the most modern and technologically advanced lamb production plant in South America," said Vice-President Gastn Scayola.

In 1996, the company launched its Heavy Lamb Program for lambs whose carcass weight 13-20 kilograms, resulting in an exquisite flavor and excellent size for its eye of loin and other cuts.

"The heavy lamb market is very important to us," Scayola said "We have always been pioneers and are now one of the main producers in South America, thanks to our dedication to the meat and investment in technology.

"Our product goes to top restaurants and the gourmet sector in the world's most discerning countries: US, Brazil, Russia, China and nations in the EU. New Zealand has 300,000 tons of quota in Europe, Australia has 300,000 tons of quota in the US. We are the third because we do not consume lamb meat domestically and we export it. Nirea's extra taste and quality is already recognized in Brazil and in Europe where we have the largest quota for Uruguayan lamb."

San Jacinto is now aiming to reinforce its position as one of Uruguay's top five meat producers and its largest lamb producer, while maintaining strict quality control measures and commitment to farmers, customers, industry officials and the environment.

"China is the market with the greatest possibilities for growth," Scayola said.

InFocus provided the story

Meat sector has a taste of success

(China Daily 02/04/2013 page6)

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