The Canadian beef sector is in for a bright future, but that will depend on exports to other countries, says Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) 2015 beef sector report.
The report quotes Statistics Canada as estimating that per capita beef consumption in Canada is down 12 per cent from 2004 to 2013.
Reasons for this range from an aging population eating less beef, a larger immigrant population eating foods such as fish, pork and chicken, consumers eliminating red meat from their diets and higher beef prices.
However, world consumption of beef is expected to grow by 12 per cent over the next 10 years, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and United Nations joint 2014 Agriculture Outlook. Canada is the seventh largest beef exporter in the world, and the 11th largest producer.
While exports to the U.S. are down 16 per cent and Mexico 10 per cent from 2000 to 2014, exports to five Asian markets — Hong Kong, Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan — have doubled over the last 15 years. The FCC report says Mexican beef consumption will increase seven per cent from 2014 to 2019.
The report does say there are some challenges for growth in the Canadian beef industry, including low cattle numbers, competition for land from cash croppers, volatile production costs, labour scarcity and BSE.