October 21, 2011 / 2:28 PM / 9 years ago

Paraguay lifts ban on beef exports

* Govt lifts ban imposed due to foot-and-mouth outbreak
    * Russia to keep buying, officials in talks with Chile
    ASUNCION, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Paraguayan officials gave
local meatpackers approval to resume beef exports on Friday, a
month after they were halted due to an outbreak of
foot-and-mouth disease.
    The outbreak was a tough blow for the fast-growing beef
industry in the South American country, a top 10 global
exporter until September. Meatpacking plants were paralyzed
during the ban, prompting the central bank to cut its economic
growth forecast. [ID:nS1E78I0VQ]
    Friday's decision to lift the suspension was announced in a
statement by the Senacsa national veterinary service. The
freeze will remain in place for ranchers in the area where the
highly contagious disease was detected.
    Foot-and-mouth is one of the world's most serious
infectious diseases of farmed animals, though it is not harmful
to humans.
    Beef is Paraguay's No. 2 export after soy, and the
livestock industry accounts for about 10 percent of gross
domestic product. The central bank said the foot-and-mouth
outbreak would shave 0.2-0.3 percentage point off growth this
    The meatpacking industry estimates its losses so far at
between $300 million and $400 million.
    Key buyer Russia will keep buying Paraguayan beef,
officials said, adding that they hoped for progress on talks to
resume shipments to Chile.
 (Reporting by Daniela Desantis; Writing by Helen Popper;
Editing by Dale Hudson)
 (helen.popper@thomsonreuters.com; +54 11 4510 2505; Reuters
Messaging: helen.popper.reuters.com@reuters.net))
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