8 Apr 2014

First exports of Southern Cone Grassland Beef to Europe

By Isadora Angarita

The Southern Cone Grassland Alliance is set to achieve one of its greatest ambitions: to sell certified Grassland Beef on the European market for the first time.

Zandbergen World’s Finest Meat, based in The Netherlands, will receive the first shipment to sell in Western European markets; Swedish consumers will probably be the first to sample the product.

Traditional ranching in the Prairies and the Pampas, in which cattle are left out to graze on natural grasses, has lost much of its market to “feedlot beef”, which involves feeding confined cattle on soy and grain (much of it grown on the former pasturelands).

In 2006, four BirdLife Partners, Aves Argentinas, Aves Uruguay, SAVE Brazil and Guyra Paraguay with funding from the Aage V Jensen Charity Foundation, USFWS-NMBCA, USFS-IP and CWS , formed the Southern Cone Grasslands Alliance (Alianza de Pastizal del Conosur) to provide incentives for local ranchers to maintain or revive traditional extensive grazing. A cornerstone of the Alliance’s approach has been the development of a “bird-friendly” natural grasslands beef certification scheme.

In Argentina, the Alliance as yet has only 32 ranches involved in the Grassland Beef Quality Program pioneered by Aves Argentinas. However, it is anticipated that the demand for this beef, both from foreign and internal markets, will increase. Therefore, the SCGA is currently working to expand the supplier certified base of ranchers and animals, and the potential consumers of Grassland Beef.