Since 2004, Brazil has been the world's largest exporter of cattle beef and, more and more, has been gaining recognition as a country of excellence in genetic development of zebu breeds.
Up to the end of 2008, exports of the Brazilian Cattle Genetics consortium should reach US$ 80 million. In 2007, companies in the group exported the equivalent to US$ 60 million to over 25 countries, growth of 126% over sales in the previous year.
"Brazil offers excellence in animal genetic material. I believe in this sector and in the difference we may make to the world," said Avay Miranda, projects director at the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).
Established in 2003 by the Brazilian Zebu Breeders Association (ABCZ), in partnership with the Apex, the consortium has already participated in 33 fairs and seven trade missions worldwide, taking Brazilian zebu cattle genetics and dairy and beef production technology in the tropics to over 15 countries.
The project counts on the main national companies in the sector of embryos, semen, animals for reproduction, seeds for grazing ground, animal feed, veterinary products and equipment.
"The project may well continue growing. It all began in 2003, with exports of US$ 14 million and has exceeded the targets year on year," pointed out Miranda.
According to him, another indicator that the foreign market is promising for genetic material is the fact that foreign committees visited the country throughout the year. "Not just during the large cattle exhibitions. Brazil received groups from several countries, mainly Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico," he pointed out.
The actions forecasted in the project seek consolidation of markets existing in South America (especially Colombia, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador and Venezuela) and Africa (Angola, Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Senegal), and winning new markets like South Africa and Australia and several countries in Central America, like Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, which are in a process of establishment of a sanitary protocol. India and Malaysia should be objects of a study for market prospecting.
India, the land of origin of zebu cattle, has already shown interest in the dairy cattle genetic improvement work developed in Brazil. The Arab countries are also considered promising destinations. "In the Arab world there is a relevant market not just in genetics, but for products associated to animal feed, medication and accessories for horses," said Miranda.
In 2008, Brazilian Cattle participated in fairs like Sial, in Paris, together with the Brazilian Beef Industry and Exporters Association (Abiec).
To export, it is necessary to obey the sanitary protocol of each importer. It includes all demands with regard to the material to be exported. If the requirements are respected, the country has all logistics possibilities to make the delivery.
Brazil now has areas for quarantine, transport to the port and centers certified by the Ministry of Agriculture. "The demands of the countries to import semen, embryos, veterinary products and seeds for grazing ground are less restricted than those related to live animals," said Miranda.
Investment and improvement are constant demands. "The sector companies supported by the ABCZ have been working on improvement of the breeds for around 70 years and the country currently offers great diversity and quality in products related to the activity of beef," pointed out João Gilberto Bento, the Trade and Marketing director at ABCZ.
According to him, one of the factors that favors sector exports is the fact that Zebu is an animal totally adapted to tropical regions, with competitive production cost both for dairy and for beef, as the cattle is raised on grazing ground, and not in confined areas, as is the case in several other countries. Cattle farming on grazing ground results in a healthier animal and without risk of contamination of BSE (mad cow disease), for example.
Brazil and Egypt have had a protocol of technical cooperation for the transfer of technology since last year. "The contact was made through the University of Alexandria. And the governor, researchers and producers have already visited Brazil to lean about our production," explained Bento.
Some months later, a Brazilian mission with representatives of the ABCZ and of Agribusiness companies visited Egypt to establish new guidelines for the agreement.
"Egypt uses much Friesian cattle, but the European technology is more expensive, as it requires climate control in the installations," he said. During the visit to the country, companies associated to the consortium granted a technological package that should provide opportunities for improvement of beef and dairy production, considering the implementation of a new productive system based on technology for Brazilian production.
ABCZ represents around 17,000 associates in Brazil and abroad, in six categories. It is a national organization that coordinates and centralizes all activities related to zebu in the technical, political and economic areas.