Australian steaks could be at risk thanks to Argentina’s beef ban
Australians love a steak. Indeed, we are one of the largest consumers of beef per capita in the world, as well as one of the largest producers of beef in the world. Australian beef is also widely regarded as some of the best in the world.
The other thing Australian beef tops the charts for? Prices. As of June 2020, Australian beef prices have been the highest in the world, according to Meat and Livestock Australia, the industry body.
Much of this is related to COVID as well as economic and climatic factors, but the quality of Australian beef is also a major contributing factor to the currently high market prices, as explained by MLA Managing Director Jason Strong. , at Good food Last year.
“What we need to understand is that here in Australia we produce some of the best quality beef in the world, and there is a global demand for that beef… local steak lovers are competing with consumers in Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul and Los Angeles. .”
And things could be about to get worse, as a recent ruling in Argentina threatens to drive up Australian beef prices even further.
In mid-May, the Argentine government announced an instant month-long ban on all beef exports to curb rising domestic beef prices, ABC News reports. Argentina, like Australia, is one of the largest beef exporters in the world, but Argentinians consume even more of it than we do.
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Beef is a crucial element of Argentina’s national identity: the gaucho (cowboy) is to Argentina what the “digger” is to Australia and New Zealand. Therefore, it is politically expedient to ensure that beef is affordable. Previous governments have tried similar measures to reduce the cost of beef.
The ban was not completely successful – with some exporters defying the government’s decision, Reuters reports – and it is said that the ban could continue well beyond the initial 30-day period if beef prices do not drop significantly.
This could be a problem for Australian beef lovers, as it will increase the global demand for Australian beef and, therefore, further increase Australian plate prices. Argentine beef, which is largely grass-fed and of high quality, is in the same premium segment of the market as Australian beef.
This could therefore be a win for Argentinian consumers, at the expense of Australian consumers – who could find themselves overpriced their favorite meat meal.
So what’s the prognosis? Experts were quick to point out that previous Argentinian beef export bans had little effect on local prices, so the ban is likely to remain temporary.
Others suggest that some of the demand for premium beef will be captured by countries like New Zealand or the United States, although cheap, lean American beef is somewhat hard to come by.
In the meantime, maybe consider replacing your sirloin habit with lobster?
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