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Meating Japan's needs
Andrew Mole | March 30, 2011
JAPAN will look to Australia and the US to shore up its protein needs with red meat in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. Initial estimates were that many people would be displaced, but that hasn't happened. However, extensive damage to production - particularly seafood, pork and poultry - means the Japanese will be looking for a lot of food. Australian Lot Feeders Association chief executive Dougal Gordon said while he still felt it was too early to tell, he could not see any signs of disruption in the Australian trade. Mr Gordon said one of the strengths of the Japanese market was the "enormous savings of both the government and consumers". "Also, we only use one port in the affected region, so right now it is probably easier for the Japanese to access imported beef than move domestic product around." Meat and Livestock Australia chief economist Tim McRae said reports from the US also showed no impact on orders. He said this month was on target for 30,000 tonnes shipped weight for Australian beef, and there were no indications the target of 355,000 tonnes of Australian beef to Japan for the year was out of reach. "March has been a big month in general and the Japanese market is steady to improving," Mr McRae said. T&R Pastoral's beef sales manager Leith Tilley said his company's orders of Certified Australian Angus Beef had risen in the past month. He said CAAB was a new market for the company in Japan, but its more established products into Japan, such as Clare Valley Gold, grassfed, chilled and frozen cuts, were all doing well. "There is no doubt CAAB is a growth market for T&R, and the only impact we have felt since this terrible event has been the diversion of a couple of vessels," Mr Tilley said. CAAB chief executive Phil Morley said the product targeted the better end of the 120-day fed market. He said none of the licensed exporters had reported any problems. "CAAB is certainly above the average, even for the 200 and 300-day product competing there with us," Mr Morley said. US Meat Export Federation president Philip Sheng said his group was maintaining its original 2011 beef and pork export forecasts to Japan. He said it expected to land 153,000 tonnes of beef. "The region hit represents some 16 per cent of pork production, 12 per cent of beef and 15 per cent of poultry production," Mr Sheng said. The outlook is promising for exports."
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Meating Japan's needs
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