Little Piauí­, in Brazil, Wants to Sell More than Cashew to the Arabs

The northeastern Brazilian state of Piauí wants to attract Arab capital for the fruit growing and captivity shrimp breeding sectors.

The interest was shown during the visit made by seven Arab ambassadors to the state between the 22nd and 24th of May, according to the secretary general of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB), Michel Alaby, who accompanied the diplomats.

The group travelled at the invitation of governor Wellington Dias and saw the irrigation project called Tabuleiros Litorâneos (meaning seaside fields), through which the small farmers from the state of Piauí­ cultivate 733 hectares with products such as cashew, coconut, guava, melon and watermelon.

The plantations, which are located between the cities of Parnaí­ba and Buriti dos Lopes, are irrigated with water from the river Parnaí­ba. In the area there is also captivity shrimp breeding.

As well as showing the sectors where there is potential for investments, the people of Piauí­ also discussed with local officials and businessmen the possibilities of increasing trade between the two regions. The state of Piauí­ still exports very little to the Arab countries.

During the first five months this year, the state earned revenues of US$ 190,230 with sales to countries of the League of Arab Nations. In spite of the small volume, however, the value was an increase over the same period of the previous year, when revenues were of US$ 13,200.

The whole value exported from January to May this year corresponded to cashew nuts. According to Alaby, Piauí­ has the potential, however, to sell also other products to the Arabs such as honey, fruits, granite, quartzite, soy, beef and ovine meet.

The secretary general of the CCAB believes that the increase in trade between the two regions should be one of the results of the ambassadors' journey to the northeastern state.

One of the measures adopted that could benefit the trade flow is including the Piauí­ companies in the CCAB registers. Through this the companies of the state of Piauí­ will have access to the lists of Arab importers.

"They will be able to make direct contacts and sales, without going through intermediaries," he states.

According to Alaby, the installation of an office for the Chamber is being studied to intensify imports and exports.

Another measure that should improve trade is the possible participation of a representative of the Piauí­ government and one from the private sector at the Algiers Fair, that starts June 1st, in Algeria.

The ambassadors that travelled to Piauí­ were from Palestine and dean of the Council of Arab Ambassadors, Musa Odeh; from Tunisia, Hassine Bouzid; from Algeria, Lahcène Moussaour; from Libya, Mohamed Heimeda Saad Matri; from Kuwait, Hamood Al-Roudhan; from Sudan, Rahamtalla Mohamed Osman and from Lebanon, Fouad El Khoury.

They were hosted by local officials such as the state governor, the mayor of the city of Teresina (capital of the state of Piauí­), Silvio Mendes, and the president of the state's legislative assembly, Themistocles de Sampaio Filho.

During the visit to Piauí­, the Arab ambassadors also made a donation of US$ 2,000 for the social causes supported by the Syrian-Lebanese Community and of US$ 6,000 for the social programs held by the state. The presence of the Arab ambassadors made the headlines of the main local newspapers.

ANBA - Brazil-Arab News Agency - www.anba.com.br

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