Ecuador has decided it needs to replenish and upgrade its cattle stock and is looking to Texas and Paraguay for help.
Working with large Ecuadorian beef producers, the country’s agriculture ministry is importing 1,300 head of Brangus and Braford cattle from Paraguay, with the first shipments of almost 500 arriving earlier this month. Assistant agriculture secretary Minister Javier Ponce also traveled to Texas negotiate the sale of several hundred Brahman cattle to be shipped to Ecuador in June and July.
According to the agriculture ministry, the importation is necessary to increase numbers and to improve the quality of beef herds in the wake of disease, including an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. It says that weather related problems on the coast have also depleted herds.
In all, Ecuador hopes to reestablish its beef production by importing 35,000 head of cattle from various countries in 2015 and 2016. Agriculture ministry spokesman Luis Valverde said the country plans to reestablish its beef export trade with Venezuela, Iran, Cuba and Panama, and is looking to expand exports to Russia and Peru.
Ecuador expects to receive a certificate from the World Organization for Animal Health in Paris in June certifying that the country is free of foot and mouth disease.
The Brangus and Braford cattle from Paraguay are coming from several ranches while purchase agreement of the Texas Brahmans will come from the giant V8 ranch.
Valverde said that the purchases are intended to upgrade the genetic stock as well as numbers of pure bred cattle. “The diseases and other factors have depleted our genetic quality,” he said. “We are rebuilding the quality of our stock in preparation to reentering the international export markets.”
Ecuador’s Livestock Federation says that that the country had 5,134,122 head of beef cattle in 2014, down almost 250,000 from 2011. Azuay and Manabi Provinces have the largest herds of both dairy and beef cattle.