Sales to new markets, especially to countries in the Middle East and North Africa, contributed to the increase by 30% in the exports of sweets manufactured in the city of MarÀlia, in the interior of the southeastern state of São Paulo, Brazil.
In 2004, the city, one of the main food production hubs in the country, exported US$ 19.1 million in sweets, against US$ 14.5 million in 2003.
Every month, about 12% of a total of 30,000 tons of candies, lollipops, chocolates and biscuits produced in Marília are shipped to more than 50 countries. The United States, South Africa and countries in Latin America are still the main destinations.
Sales opportunities showing up in Arab countries such as Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, however, have presented a new alternative to boost business.
The company Jazam, manufacturer of bonbons, pastries, peanut sweets and jelly, started exporting to Lebanon in 2004.
“We shipped a first order, composed of a mixture of products (pastries, sweets and chocolates). We are feeling optimistic since the Middle East is a very interesting market,” explains Rafael Jubran, exports manager.
The company has been on the market for 15 years, but only started foreign sales four years ago.
Also last year, the fruit pulp and juice producer Fruteza, with 12 years of experience and grinding capacity of 18 tons of fruit per hour, closed an export deal with Lebanon.
“We export pulp of passion fruit, guava, mango, acerola and pineapple. Our contract guarantees continuity in exports to the Lebanese in 2005,” celebrates Adriano Vitor Quim, exports manager at Fruteza.
Eyeing the potential of the Arab market, the biscuits manufacturer Xereta, founded 36 years ago and currently with 300 employees, plans on retaking exports in 2005. Prospecting started with Saudi Arabia.
“I have already got a list of many Saudi importers. I sent many emails and the next step will be telephone contact,” says Guilherme Saggioro, responsible for the foreign trade department in the company.
Food Factories Hub
With per capita income of US$ 154, Marília has 160 large companies that generate 6,500 direct jobs and about 15,000 indirect jobs in the region.
The figures, from the Association of Food Factories of Marília (Adima), show the production capacity in the city’s food sector, which takes the title “National Food Capital”.
Every month, 2,000 trucks leave the city taking products manufactured there. The direct gross revenues are of US$ 218.82 million per year. The city also has strong trade tradition. There are almost 7,000 commercial establishments giving the city economic expressiveness.
According to information from the regional office of the Center of Industries of the State of São Paulo (Ciesp), as well as the food sector, Marília also counts on industries in the metallurgy, graphics, plastics and civil construction sectors, adding up to a total of 600 formal companies.
Translated by Silvia Lindsey
ANBA – Brazil-Arab News Agency