Josapar group, the leading packer and distributor of rice in Latin America, which is based in the Brazilian southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, is increasing sales of rice to the Arab market. The group started selling to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Algeria.
They were already exported rice brand Tio João to Lebanon and Palestine since 2004, and the company is now negotiating with an importer from Jordan.
"Those are countries with very high consumption rates, and in which the quality of Brazilian rice is becoming known. In spite of proximity to Thailand and Vietnam, many sales opportunities arise," says Luciano Targa Ferreira, a sales and export director with Josapar.
"We intend to develop the Arab market further. Consumers are aware of opportunities to buy a differentiated product. We participated in a trade show in Dubai (Gulfood) in February, and the receptiveness was great," he stated.
"Presently, Brazil is the leading rice producing and consuming country in the Western world, and Josapar is proud of contributing to it," he adds. According to him, the variety of the Brazilian grain is a strong differential. Furthermore, the long thin rice, which is the variety that bears the most resemblance to the rice produced in other parts of the world, has more volume, looks better and is less sticky when cooked.
"Brazilian rice does not stick together after it is cooked. The aspect and color are also better, because our seeds are developed by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa)," explains the director.
Brazil was never a large rice exporting country. The country consumes 14 million tons per year and produces approximately 12.5 million tons, so it ends up importing around 1 million tons from neighboring Argentina and Uruguay. "Exporting rice from Brazil requires lots of market development," says Ferreira.
Last year, for example, the world was faced with a strong scarcity of rice that led prices to rocket. "It went from US$ 400 to US$ 1,000 from March to May, and that created space for Brazilian rice," he explains.
"Exporting is good because it regularizes the market and creates alternatives for selling. Constant exporting demands investment in the development of partnerships and differentiated packaging, so as to attract the attention of consumers, as well as very high quality in order to win the loyalty of clients," he asserts.
Founded in 1933 in the city of Pelotas, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the Josapar group has its flagship in rice brand Tio João, which has been the market leader in Brazil for 30 years now. The Josapar group produces 35,000 tons of rice per month. Foreign sales account for 3% to 4% or production and go to more than 20 different countries. The largest markets are Angola, the United States, the Caribbean and Europe.