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).
From 16 to November 20 companies in the livestock sector in the country will be gathering together in Managua to showcase their products in Fenagro and explore business opportunities.
The Nicaraguan National Farming Fair will be held at the headquarters of the Central American Livestock Exposition (Expica) northwest of Managua, and is expected to include the participation of 200 companies from Nicaragua and other countries in the region.
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.
A local problem between Honduran farmers and pasteurizing plants due to the price at which they purchase milk could be the reason behind the block on Nicaraguan dairy products.
Trinchera.com.ni reports that according to the National Federation of Ranchers and Farmers of Honduras (FENAGH), closing the border to milk and dairy products from Nicaragua will continue until there is a resolution to the problem between pasteurizing plants and dairy farmers, who have denounced the low prices paid for the product in plants.
The depletion of soils in Los Santos is leading producers to Darien, where rice cultivation has increased by 35% and more than 190 thousand hectares are now dedicated to raising livestock.
At the close of the 2015-16 crop year in the province of Darien almost 5,000 hectares were planted with rice and 192,000 hectares dedicated to cattle, two activities that until recently used to be concentrated in the province of Los Santos.In the case of rice, the increase is 35% from the agricultural year 2012-2013. In Darien,"... their soil moisture, land availability and proximity to the capital city have combined to the benefit of the productive sector."
Concerns have arisen over a recent agreement signed between the US and Brazil, in which the South American country is allocated a significant quota from the same segment that Nicaragua supplies.
The new quota for imports of fresh beef from Brazil is considered to be in the same category as the quota that corresponds to Nicaragua, called "Other countries".Nicaraguan exporters fear that the quota, amounting to 65 thousand tons per year, will be filled by Brazil leaving no space for sales of meat from Nicaragua and other countries also included in this segment.
It has been reported that to date 14,303 animals have been traced and identified and 97 establishments have been registered in the National Traceability and Livestock Registry System.
From a statement issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock:
With the decisive support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG by its initials in Spanish) through the National Agricultural Health Service (SENASA) the International Regional Organization for Agricultural Health (OIRSA), and the National Federation of Farmers and Ranchers in Honduras (FENAGH), this nation has joined the rest of the countries in Central America.
2016-2017 forecast: 1.6 million hectares in cropland, cattle slaughter at 795,000 head and milk production raging between 275 million and 300 million gallons.
The Plan for Production, Consumption and Trade in the 2016-2017 Cycle includes details of the Nicaraguan government's projections for the agricultural, livestock, poultry, aquaculture and forestry sectors for the current year and the next.
Panamanian farmers will have $4 million a year available to use to increase the inventory of cattle to 2 million head in 2019.
An article on Panamaamerica.com.pa reports that "...Ranchers have set a target to achieve, by 2019, some 2 million head of cattle, because the inventory has been reduced due to the effects of El Niño. "
"... Last week the government pledged to allocate $4 million a year to meet the goal of reaching 2 million breeding stock of cattle in the country, in order to eliminate the slaughter of heifers and young cows."