Earlier this week on the BEEF Magazine Facebook page, I asked readers what topics they might be interested in reading about in the upcoming weeks. I received some great suggestions for future posts to pursue, and one of the topic ideas spurred an interesting dialogue among the BEEF Editors and myself. Reader Leonardo Alencar asked the following question: "As there was an increase of investiments in African beef production and as the Indian sector is now more organized, who is going to be the main players of the market in the next decade?" The editors weighed in on their opinions, and I hope you will, too!
Senior Editor Burt Rutherford writes: "Maybe I’m being too parochial, but I just don’t see Africa becoming a major player. Africa can’t even feed itself. How is it going to feed anyone else? While India may possibly be a competitor, I have my doubts. However, I don’t know enough about India to say. My humble opinion is that we have more to worry about with Brazil and Argentina than we do with Africa and India. If South America can get its act together, they will be worthy competitor."
Editor Joe Roybal replies: "I think Burt is right about Africa, but just 30 years ago or so, it was predicted that India would be a starving wasteland by now and it is, I believe, now self-sufficient in grain production, thanks to high-yield ag techniques like biotech seed. Africa’s food problems are mostly the result of political and social causes; hunger has often been used as a political tool, or is the consequence – intended or unintended - of poor political decisions or conflicts. Burt is also right about South America; while Argentina is a mess thanks to governmental meddling, Brazil’s government has chosen agriculture as the way to a better future, figuring that if it can keep people on the land and prevent a mass migration to the cities, it can better feed itself and avoid the urban problems that plague other countries like Mexico."
As for me, I'm interested to see what develops in Africa and India; however, I think South America holds the potential to shake things up in our global agriculture markets down the road. For the United States, I think it's important to continue to focus on being better trade partners and improving our global relationships with countries here and abroad.
Here is an article on the subject written by Clint Peck in the April issue, Two Countries, Two Directions.
What are your thoughts on the topic? Who will be a major player in agriculture down the road? Africa? India? Brazil? Argentina? China? Weigh in on the global beef markets in the comments section below. Thanks in advance for your participation!