The Brazilian Beef Industry and Exporters Association (Abiec) offered, last Wednesday, June 8, a barbecue to about 200 Egyptian importers at the Gezira Hotel, in Cairo.
The barbecue was held to promote Brazilian beef in the country, currently one of the greatest buyers of the Brazilian product abroad.
The executive director at Abiec, Antonio Jorge Camardelli, was in the country between June 7 and yesterday, June 9.
"We wanted to show our Egyptian partners some retribution for their attention, in a very Brazilian way, with a barbecue," said Camardelli.
As well as importers, representatives of the government, the League of Arab Nations and local media also participated.
During the barbecue, the participants heard a presentation about the Brazilian herd. Egypt is currently the second greatest raw beef importer from Brazil, according to information for the first five months of the year released yesterday by the Abiec.
"Egypt has been, in recent years, an excellent trade partner. And imports of Brazilian beef increased a lot since 2001. Currently Egypt purchases about 11% of total Brazilian exports of the product," stated Camardelli.
According to the Abiec executive director, Egypt buys more than 100,000 tons of beef from Brazil every year.
"The quantity sold to Egypt represents about US$ 160 million annually, a figure that is quite significant to us," he says.
Between January and May this year, the Egyptians imported 60,300 tons of raw beef from Brazil.
According to Camardelli, before the Egyptians, in the list of Brazilian beef international buyers, are only the European Union (EU) and countries like Russia and Chile.
He underlines that the European market is one of the most demanding in relation to quality, safety and origin of the product. "They also pay great attention to issues such as the animal’s well being and the environment where it was bred."
A large part of the Brazilian herd is bred loose, grazing, close to natural springs, rivers and lakes, making the meat leaner. Camardelli stated that this is one of the factors for the success of Brazilian cattle beef on the foreign market.
According to Camardelli, Brazil currently exports to 143 countries. Last year alone over a million and a half tons of beef were sold, representing around US$ 2.5 billion.
"Brazil is the largest world exporter of cattle beef in terms of volume. In terms of revenues, we only lose to Australia. We currently have 195 million heads of cattle, over one per inhabitant.
"This is the largest commercial herd in the world. Our animals are bred on a surface of 100,000 hectares and represent 20% of world production," he stated.
Another factor that contributes to the success of Brazilian cattle beef exports to Egypt is that fact that the slaughterhouses in Brazil follow the slaughtering rituals required by the Muslim religion.
"We have an agreement with the Muslim federation, guaranteeing the presence of a slaughterer at each meat packing plant, generating the certainty of respect to the religious process.
"We have working for us, at the Abiec, at least thirty Muslim employees, responsible for the slaughterhouses that supply beef exclusively to the Islamic countries," he stated.
An agreement signed recently between the Abiec and Egypt guarantees the permanence of slaughterers at the sites where the cattle is bled.
"What happened before was that each time a deal was closed, we had to look for someone to do the control (of the Islamic ritual). For this reason, at the request of the companies, now there is always a halal slaughterer present at meat packing plants, and it does not depend on deals having been closed. In the agreement, it is stipulated that the slaughterer must constantly be present at the site of slaughter," he explained.
Apart from Egypt, Brazil also exports cattle beef to other countries like Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon and Libya.
"These countries also stand out in the list of Arab importers and are currently buying over 50,000 tons of cattle beef," he said.
According to Camardelli, if they are added up, Arab imports of Brazilian cattle beef currently represent over 50% of Brazilian exports of the product.
"The Arabs are buying over 700,000 tons from Brazil annually, and this means an estimated value of over US$ 1 billion," he explained.
Despite the significant volume, the Abiec has other plans for Brazilian cattle beef sales to the region.
"We have great perspectives for the future, with intensification of work and dynamism of operations, the companies themselves will have branches in the Arab countries. This will contribute to a cost reduction in our work," he explained.
Camardelli believes that partnerships between Brazilian exporters and Arab importers should also be created, generating a more fluid retail supply.
ANBA – Brazil-Arab News Agency – www.anba.com.br