This year the union of beef exporters expects to sell abroad 113,000 tons of beef and offal products.
Directors of the Nicaraguan chamber of beef exporting plants estimate that sales this year will generate $480 million in revenue.They also announced they will be working on the implementation of improvements that will allow them to increase the value added of the final product, in order to enter more demanding markets, such as Europe.
Between 2012 and 2016 imports of beef in the country doubled, going from $24 million to $50 million, while in the same period local cattle slaughter fell by 17%.
Figures from the Livestock Development Corporation (CORFOGA) indicate that consumption of imported beef has grown steadily in recent years. In 2010 the country imported 4,731 tons, while in 2016 the figure was 9,406 tons.
In the difficult route to increase the sector's sales abroad, the country has so far managed to register 58% of the cattle herd.
The advanced comes after five years of efforts between the authorities and trade associations to have included in their records 22% of cattle farms in the country and 58% of cattle organizations, but industry representatives believe that there is still much to be done to meet the traceability requirements that are impeding the entry of Nicaraguan meat products into some markets, including the European Union (EU).
Purchase of equipment for quality testing and adjustments in health checks are part of the plan that Panama will implement in order to start exporting meat.
The Ministry of Agricultural Development's plan involves changes to the health system, incorporating new technology for quality controls.The aim is to deliver, in mid-2017, the equivalency questionnaire to the Food Safety Inspection Services at the US Department of Agriculture.
In 2015 the region as a whole imported $96 million worth of processed meat, led by El Salvador, which imported $25 million, followed by Guatemala with $22 million, and Honduras, with $16 million.
Figures onForeign Trade in Sausages Meat and Similar Products in Central America,analyzed by the Business Intelligence Unit at CentralAmericaData.com show that in 2015 the countries of Central America imported 33,528 tons of processed meat, equivalent to $96 million.
On December 10 and 11 producers of sheep and goat meat will be meeting in Atenas, Costa Rica, to discuss issues such as production management and use of technology.
On December 10 and 11 the Costarican Ovicaprina Environmentalist Association (ASOOVIAMCO) will be holding the Second National Congress of Producers of Goats and Sheep at the Headquarters of Atenas National Technical University (NTU-Atenas), an event which will bring together entrepreneurs from around the country and international speakers from the University of Chapingo, in Mexico.
Milk and meat producers have reported discrepancies between the prices paid by slaughterhouses and international market prices.
The Federation of Livestock in Nicaragua (Faganic), the National Union of Agricultural Producers in Nicaragua (UPANIC), and the Nicaraguan Chamber of the Milk Sector (CANISLAC) have reported that four slaughterhouses are distorting the local market by allegedly paying prices that are lower than international prices.
Increasing the percentage of deliveries and optimizing the use of fodder will help raise productivity and improve conditions for competing with other export markets.
A pilot plan which is being promoted by the Livestock Corporation (CORFOGA) and which is already being implemented in 93 producing farms aims to improve productivity in cattle breeding and milk in the country.
A study by Funides details the numbers for the sector and points to factors impeding further development such as low productivity due to lack of genetic development and mechanization, in addition to excessive dependence on climate.
According to the Nicaraguan Foundation for Social Development (Funides), the main challenges facing the livestock sector are low productivity, high dependence on climate, lack of genetic development, little mechanization, higher demands from international markets, sanitary barriers and those of neighboring countries, lack of public services and infrastructure and low industrialization.