For the Brazilian Beef Industry and Exporters Association (Abiec), theÂ Arab market is arising as an alternative face the lower Brazilian exports of beef to Russia, which represent 38% of foreign sales of the product.
"It is one of the best alternatives for Brazil to diversify exports. We have space to grow there," say the president of the Abiec, Roberto Giannetti da Fonseca.
From January to November, six Arab countries were among the 15 main buyers of the Brazilian product: Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Together, they imported from Brazil a total of US$ 700 million in beef.
Egypt, which is the fifth main buyer of the Brazilian product, imported US$ 197.75 million in terms of value and 60,210 tons. Algeria, US$ 153.74 million and 44,720 tons; Saudi Arabia, US$ 129.31 million and 34,880 tons; Libya, US$ 87 million and 24,750 tons; Lebanon, US$ 78.87 million and 17,460 tons; and the Emirates, US$ 54.24 million and 11,340 tons.
In the first week of January, Fonseca should travel to Dubai and Egypt. "I am going to get in touch with importers and visit the region, to see how the market is and to analyze their economies," he said.
In the case of Egypt, the president at Abiec should try to discover what is happening with sales to the region, as, despite the country being one of the main markets for the Brazilian product, shipments dropped 64% from January to November.
In February, the Abiec, in partnership with the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex) should be present at the Gulfood, a fair in the food sector to take place in Dubai. Among the Arab countries, exports of beef to the Emirates posted the second greatest growth in terms of value, from January to November, at 74.8%. The greatest growth was in exports to Libya, 152.8% over the same period last year.
According to Fonseca, the Abiec efforts in seeking new markets to diversify Brazilian exports of beef have already started, so much so that the organization is constantly participating in fairs and events in the Arab market. This year, apart from the Gulfood, the organization also visited Sudan and Libya.
Brazilian beef exports in the first half of December totaled US$ 124.29 million, which represented a reduction of 18% over the same period last year. Shipments totaled 33,860 tons, 26% less.
"We are not managing to grow and I believe that only in the second quarter of 2009 will the situation improve," said Fonseca, referring to the global crisis.