One of this year's best comeback stories for U.S. pork and beef exports has been the strong rebound in Colombia. Through the first three quarters of the year, pork shipments to Colombia topped 70,000 metric tons, up 55% from a year ago, and jumped 70% in value to nearly $170 million. Beef exports to Colombia climbed 79% above last year to more than 5,000 metric tons, valued at $23.4 million (up 82%).
Don Mason, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) representative in Colombia, explains that the 2020 downturn in demand actually began prior to COVID-19, driven by devaluation of the Colombian peso and other economic headwinds. The situation worsened severely under COVID-related restrictions, including a lengthy lockdown of the country's foodservice sector. But Mason notes that even with its economy still struggling, Colombia's demand for U.S. red meat strengthened significantly this year and he looks forward to further improvement in 2022.