Breeders warn of a “shortage” of French beef


According to an economic report from the FranceAgriMer establishment, beef imports increased, in September 2022, by 15.3% over one year. Photoagriculture / stock.adobe.com

France has lost 837,000 cows since 2016, detailed the Federation of Cattle Breeders on Wednesday.

The decline in the number of cows reared in France translates into a “shortageof French beef, and an increase in imports, alerted the federation of cattle breeders (FNB) on Wednesday.

We have the feeling that the situation is slipping away from us“, declared during a press conference Bruno Dufayet, the president of the FNB. This specialized federation of the majority union FNSEA brings together producers of suckler cows, that is to say raised for meat. Against a backdrop of unreplaced retirements, work stoppages and climatic hazards, the herd in France, Europe’s leading beef producer, is contracting: -11% in six years.

France has lost 837,000 cows (dairy and suckler) since 2016, including 494,000 suckler cows, detailed the FNB, citing figures from the French Livestock Institute (Idele). That “decapitalization“, according to the term used in the profession, results in a “French beef shortageeven though consumption is stable, underlined Bruno Dufayet. As a result, manufacturers, who slaughter fewer French cows, import meat, especially from Poland, to run their processing plants and supply the national market.

According to an economic report from the FranceAgriMer establishment, beef imports increased, in September 2022, by 15.3% over one year. A quarter of the beef consumed in France is imported, compared to less than 20% a few years earlier. “Sheep experienced this in the 1980s“, noted Bruno Dufayet, recalling that more than half of the lamb meat consumed in France is now imported.

According to the breeder from Cantal, manufacturers are only beginning to worry about the lack of raw material, insofar as slaughterhouses have so far been largely supplied by breeders wishing to part with their animals. “From now on, the security of supply of each company is at stake“Said Emmanuel Bernard, vice-president of the FNB and president of the beef section of the Interbev meat interprofession.

The president of the FNB recalled that the slaughterers had been required for a year to offer them contracts. These would have the meritto secure the income of producers and the supply» slaughterhouses. “We won’t reverse the trend, but we must try to stop“The decline in livestock, pleaded the breeder.

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