Brazil agri exports extend regional reach

By Eliot Beer

- Last updated on GMT

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©iStock

Related tags: Saudi arabia, Middle east

Brazilian agribusiness exporters are expanding their markets in the Middle East, as poultry sales boom, Saudi rice imports ramp up, and live cattle exports to Egypt are set to resume.

Poultry exports from Brazil to Saudi Arabia, the largest market in the world for the country’s chicken products, were up 9% year-on-year by volume in the first four months of the year, at 246,000 tonnes – with volumes in April up 15%. The 67,000 tonnes shipped to Saudi Arabia in April represent just under 16% of Brazil’s total poultry exports.

But poultry sales are also expanding beyond Brazil’s traditional core markets in the region, with exports to Egypt up 52%, at 12,000 tonnes in the first four months, and exports to Oman up 83%, at 9,000 tonnes in the same period. Sales to Yemen, which has been wracked by civil war, were up 736%, at 6,500 tonnes.

Building a rice business

Brazilian rice exporters are also starting to tap into the Middle East more significantly, with Saudi Arabia importing 20.7% more rice by volume, at 3,610 tonnes, in the first four months of the year, compared to the same period a year before. By value the exports were up 6% year-on-year, worth US$1.83m.

While the rice trade between Saudi Arabia and Brazil is currently small, it is only in its fourth year of existence. According to Gustavo Ludwig, project manager at Brazilian rice association Abiarroz, the country’s producers have put a lot of effort into promotional activity in the last few years.

Prior to 2012, exports to Saudi Arabia were nil, we did not business at all with them. In 2012 we began taking companies to Gulfood and having business matchmaking sessions. Since then, the orders started coming in. This growth in sales is a result of the project, because all of the exports were made by companies affiliated with Brazilian Rice​,” he said.

Ludwig said the Middle East was a key target market for Brazilian rice, with producers planning to attend Foodex Saudi this year, and exhibit at the event in 2017.

Egypt cattle imports to restart

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Cattle exports to Egypt are also set for a bright future, with the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce estimating they could reach up to 15,000 animals a month when the trade resumes this year. Egypt suspended imports of live cattle from Brazil in 2014, because of issues with health inspections.

This reopening is very positive, since it’s a market that now is resuming its purchases of animals from Brazil. The meat produced here needs to be at the Arab countries so that the trust in the health quality of the Brazilian cattle is reassured. Especially because the Brazilian herd feeds on natural pasture​,” said Tamer Mansour, manager of government relations at the Chamber.

Around 23,000 live cattle were shipped from Brazil to Egypt in 2014 before the trade was suspended, worth just under US$17m.

Related topics: Middle East

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