Argentines are no longer the king ‘beef-consumers’ with the average 63.3 kilos per person per year in the 2003/2010 period falling to 46.7 kilos in the first quarter of this year, according to Economia & Regiones private consultancy report.
The 46.7 kilos beef consumption per person per year is almost the same average as ninety years ago and is attributed to a fall in Argentina’s national herd and a sustained increase in prices, adds the report that was published in Buenos Aires daily Clarin.
In 1920 the average beef consumption in Argentina was 46.9 kilos, while in the fifties it soared to over 90 kilos.
“The maximum price policy (and export quotas) implemented” by the government of Nestor Kirchner and continued by his wife President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, supposedly to help contain inflation “resulted in a drastic drop in profits, contracting livestock supply gradually reducing the Argentine rodeo to one of its historic negative peaks”, points out the report based on data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food.
In the last five years the Argentine cattle herd lost ten million head and currently stands at 48.2 million.
Although the beef price policy for the domestic market and export quotas have had an impact on Argentina’s traditional livestock grazing, other more profitable options such as agriculture and particularly soybeans, as has happened in all Mercosur members, have emerged as the new boom crop. This has pushed cattle grazing to poorer soil.
Mercosur statistics show that Uruguay, since 2009, has taken took over from Argentina as the country with the highest beef consumption per capita in the range of 58 to 60 kilos.