Around thirty young Belgian Blue (BBB) bulls will leave Ciney market on Wednesday, to head to a fattening farm in Lebanon. This was announced by the National Federal for Cattle Trade (FNCB) in a press release. The Walloon exporter Benoit Jaco hopes to send 70 cattle every month eventually. Exporting to Lebanon could open new doors for the struggling sector. “We were contacted by people in Lebanon, where demand for our noble animals has increased”, explains Benoit Jaco, a cattle breeder. The 30 bulls going on Wednesday will be sent by boat. They will be fattened and slaughtered in Lebanon. The country is not self-sufficient, and imports 70% of its food, Brussels invest & export revealed in a report on the subject. “Lebanon consumers like European products”.
“Eating habits are changing drastically in Belgium”, explains Benoit Cassart, general secretary of the FNCB. Beef consumption in Belgium has indeed gone down over the last ten years, going from 20kg per person in 2002 to 18kg in 2012, according to FEBEV, the Belgian Meat Federation. “Beef is in competition with game and pork more and more, as their prices have done down since the Russian embargo”, says Benoit Cassart.
Exporting to destinations outside Europe has become a new outlet for the sector. “The only efficient way to encourage producers to find a solution to their financial problems is exportation”.
However, before they can export, there must be agreements on hygiene between countries and food security agencies and veterinary services. Once that’s been dealt with, they just have to insure the customers are credible and will actually pay the bill, says Benoit Jaco. He is already planning to expand to other Middle-Eastern countries.
Sarah Johansson (Source: Belga)