June 2, 2023

From the forests of Latin American countries, in particular Brazil, to the outskirts of Sidi Bennur. I covered thousands of miles by land and sea, on a journey that lasted 13 days, without realizing that my destination would be in the suburbs of the village of Sidi Ismail.

Their weights and colors varied, and they lined up in the large stables, watching every move, wary of the guards approaching them. Despite his strength and size, he appears fearful and retreats whenever he is approached.

Control of imported cows

A few days after the arrival of several Brazilian cows in the port of Jorf Lasfar in the suburbs of El Jadida, as the first and largest shipment from this Latin country, destined for slaughter, the curiosity of these cows, which the Moroccans follow all the new cases and the influence of their meat into their pockets and lower prices prompted Hespress to move to an estate in the village of Sidi Ismail, where there are 2,800 heads.

Brazilian cows are carefully kept on a large ranch. In each, dozens of heads are isolated from each other. The veterinarian and his assistants begin by taking blood samples, banding and numbering the cows before separating them into stalls.

These cows are watched before and after their arrival in Morocco to prepare them for slaughter. Salah al-Din al-Sharif, the veterinarian in charge of animal health in the herd, says monitoring begins before these cows arrive, as the premises intended for them are sterilized to avoid transmitting any diseases to them after they laid down.

It is important to consider the health aspect of these imported cows, the veterinarian said, as the focus is on ensuring the safety of the imported herd, in line with the interests of the National Food Safety Authority (UNSA).

He added, in charge of animal health, in an interview with Hespress: “We number these cows and put rings on them, we take blood samples that we send to the laboratories to find out if they have diseases or not, in addition to vaccinating them. with the FMD vaccine.

These steps remain necessary because no action can be taken on imported herds without laboratory results, and once they are confirmed safe, they are sent for slaughter, the same speaker said.

Moroccan health first

Pictures of Brazilian cows circulating on social media have caused a lot of controversy. Its quality, form and safety have been the subject of criticism and inquiries. We took these questions to the importer, who brought hundreds of heads, and he replied: “It is natural to show these photos to citizens, because they have come a long way from Brazil to Jorf Lasfar, and they have the right to say this, because we are in a country that guarantees freedom of expression, and now, as you can see, after taking a break from this long journey, I feel better, but we, as professionals, see that these products are suitable for the Moroccan market.”

Abdel-Fattah Ammar, the importer of the cows, confirmed in a speech to Hespress that the Brazilian cows are distinguished by their quality, “and we cannot harm the Moroccans, and if so, we have eaten them.” before offering them for sale, because the country of Brazil has winter throughout the year, and this helps to provide pastures with natural, and therefore quality, which makes their beef good.

The transport of these Brazilian cows, and before that, the heads of sheep brought from Spain and Latin America, is subject to control by the competent authorities. The Regional Directorate of Agriculture and Fisheries in the Casablanca-Settat region confirms that the process of importing these livestock and the market demand for meat is carried out in accordance with the sanitary standards and conditions established by the National Health Security Authority.

Prior to this speech by Abdel Fattah Ammar, former head of the Chamber of Agriculture in the Casablanca-Settat region, the government spoke about the safety of imported cows through Mustafa Paytas, minister-delegate to the responsible prime minister. relations with parliament and government spokesman, on the submission of all imported cows are subject to laboratory examination to ensure their safety, emphasizing that “this issue is unacceptable” and that “all products that are imported into our country are of good quality and are subject to multi-level control and testing “.

Reducing the price of meat

Meat player Abdel Fattah Ammar believes that the 2,800 head of cows imported from Brazil will help lower the selling prices of red meat, which has inflamed the pockets of Moroccans in recent weeks.

He stressed that the selling price of Brazilian beef in slaughterhouses will be set at 68 dirhams, which means that its prices will reach the consumer in the range of 80 or 85 dirhams, unlike what is today.

He added: “We believe that the opening of the Brazilian market will bring prices down. Therefore, we are ready to supply this material to any city at an affordable price for everyone,” he said, noting that an alternative would be imports from Latin America, which is known for its world-class red meat exports and for its quality. to the European Union to reduce the cost of meat in Morocco.

The national market is expected to experience a similar import process from Brazil in the coming days, “other markets like Paraguay will also be resorted to because they are of good quality and their prices are reasonable,” the same representative continues. .

Thousands of heads imported

According to data provided by the Regional Directorate of Agriculture in the Casablanca-Settat region and received by Al-Jarida, 7,048 head of slaughter animals from Spain and Latin America were imported into the region by 10 importers, including 6,448 head. cows and 600 sheep.

According to the same data, 5,129 heads of livestock were imported in March, including 4,529 cows and 600 sheep, compared to 1,919 cows imported in February.

According to the regional directorate, this operation, carried out in compliance with sanitary norms and conditions, is aimed at filling the deficit, providing local markets with red meat, maintaining the stability of wholesale prices and installment prices.

It is possible that what contributed to the import of these figures and encouraged importers to supply red meat to the national market in order to ensure normal supplies and face high prices was taken by the government, such as exempting and ending the imposition of customs duties. duties on the importation of domesticated cows of meat productive breeds intended for slaughter.

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