In 2015 a 15% increase in the volume of milk exported offset the fall in international prices of meat and the recurring problem of smuggling in the sector.
Although meat is still the leading export sector in Nicaragua, the country's foreign exchange earnings fell by 1.6%, going from $474.8 million in 2014 to $467 million in 2015. This information was disclosed by the Nicaraguan Chamber of Beef Exporting Plants (Canicarne).
From December 11th to 13th farmers and companies will be gathering together to discuss research, animal production technologies in the country, traceability and food safety.
The Panamanian Association of Animal Production will be holding the second congress of this type under the slogan 'For cleaner tropical cattleproduction with animal welfare and technical efficiency to ensure food security and progress for Panama', in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Panama, district of Chiriqui.
The union has denounced the absence of a long-term policy to organise production and help the fight against the pests and smuggling which are hurting the sector.
The recent plague of the salivosa insect, which caused an emergency phytosanitary status to be declared, the increased smuggling of beef on the border with Mexico and the lack of actual figures related to the sector, are the main arguments put forward by the livestock sector when demanding that the government implement a policy of long-term development for the sector.
Sales of rice, cattle, wheat flour, meat and coffee made through BAGSA increased by 10% compared to the previous year.
"Despite the fall in international prices and reduced exports, transactions this year will exceed $720 million, representing growth of 10% compared to 2012," said Enrique Zamora, president of the Board of Bolsa Agropecuaria de Nicaragua S.A. (Bagsa).
During the first six months of 2013 193,438 cattle were slaughtered, 16,094 animals less than in the same period in 2012.
According to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (Anagan), the decline in the livestock supply is due to the harsh dry season which affected the country earlier this year, because reserves of food and water ran out quickly. The decrease was greater in males than in females.
There were 1,575,779 head of cattle on 45,780 ranches, an increase of 14.2% compared to the figures reported in 2011.
From a press release issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG):
In our country, the cattle herd is 1,575,779 head of cattle and there are 45,780 cattle farms, these are the results of a livestock survey, presented on Tuesday by Gloria Abraham, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) and Leonardo Luconi , President of the Livestock Corporation (CORFOGA).
Canicarne is demanding the repeal of the decree which establishes a fixed price of $250 for cattle weighing between 250 and 350 kilos, which favors the export of live cattle.
According to the Nicaraguan Chamber of Beef Exports (Canicarne), slaughterhouses are working at half capacity and demanding the repeal of the interministerial Mific-Magfor Decree 027-2007, believing that it encourages tax evasion in live cattle exports.
The growth of food exports to Venezuela has got Nicaraguan producers excited, yet they are warning against backing this market excessively.
"Between January and May of this year, exports by volume from Nicaragua to Venezuela have grown by 209%, generating an exporter enthusiasm which has convinced all of the productive sectors, especially now that there are plans to halve red bean production over five years in order to plant more black beans", reported Laprensa.com.ni
They warn that if domestic prices are not adjusted and there is no guarantee to maintain the value of the local currency, they will not sell their cattle to local slaughterhouses.
Alvaro Fiallos, president of the National Union of Farmers and Ranchers (UNAG), is demanding that slaughterhouses adjust the price which has been kept frozen since late May last year at $2.97 per kilo in hot weight, and that they recognize the maintenance of the value of the cordoba.
This year Panama will stop the export of 1580 tons of beef to the European Union for failing to meet the requirement of implementing livestock traceability.
One requirement for Panama to export meat through the Treaty of the European Union with Central America, is for the country to have a traceability system, however, the project is being held up in Congress. Without implementation, the country will not get the certification required by the European market.