The Middle East and North Africa are included in the action plans of Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture for 2010. In January, meetings are scheduled with representatives of class organizations in export sectors to validate the route of activities for trade promotion.
In 2009, the ministry promoted eight commercial visits to countries with import potential, taking on average 13 members in each delegation. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were among the nations visited.
In both nations, the ministry participated in food sector trade fairs: Gulfood, in Dubai, and Saudi Agro-Food, in Riyadh. Apart from the Arab countries, the ministry also visited Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, South Africa, Vietnam and Russia.
In the missions, the most represented sectors were dairy, meats, coffee, beverages and sweets. Still this year, the Ministry promoted the Program for Immersion of Agribusiness, taking 23 representatives of diplomatic positions abroad to different Brazilian states so that they could learn more about the several food sectors in the country.
Another Ministry action was the visit by 27 foreign ambassadors in Brasília, including those of Arab Nations, to Uberaba, in Minas Gerais. The diplomats learnt about the bovine genetics techniques and about the potential of the dairy sector.
Brazil exported 4,400 tons of peanuts to the Arab world from January to November of last year. The total shipped originated from the state of São Paulo, which is the leading producing state of the leguminous oilseed in Brazil.
According to data supplied by the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, in the same period of last year, Brazil exported 2,500 tons of peanuts to the Arab countries, i.e., there was growth of 71% in foreign sales. In 2008, all shipments were made from the state of São Paulo as well.
Despite the increase in volume shipped, revenues have not grown significantly, as the product’s prices have been decreasing. Revenues obtained by farmers in São Paulo from exports of peanuts to the Arabs US$ 3.59 million in the first eleven months of this year, as against US$ 3.16 million in the same period of last year. The increase in sales, in this case, was 13%, way below the growth in volume.
The leading buyer of peanut from São Paulo, in the Arab world, was Algeria, a country in North Africa. Saudi Arabia also made purchases, but they were much lower than those of Algeria. Whereas the Algerians imported 4,300 tons of the product, the Saudis only bought 95 tons.
In 2008, Algeria was the sole buyer, with 2,580 tons imported. In other words, Algerian exports have grown by 72%. In terms of revenues, Algeria imported the equivalent of US$ 3.51 million, from January to November this year, as against US$ 3.1 million in the same period of 2008.
The 2008/2009 peanut crop in the state of São Paulo totaled 69,372 hectares. The coming crop, according to projections made by the Agricultural Economics Institute (IEA), linked to the government of the state, should total 60,205 hectares.
The figure represents a reduction in crop size. According to the institute, farmers are choosing to plant soybean instead of peanut, due to the product’s greater perspective of profitability.