Brazil has started exporting large volumes of chicken meat to the Egyptian market. According to newspaper Al Ahram, the main paper in the African-Arab country, 20,000 tons of frozen chicken, produced in Brazil, arrived in Egypt on September 5.
The arrival of the load was announced by the Minister of Agriculture of the Egypt, Amin Abaza. Imports of chicken were allowed by the local government in July to avoid lack of supply.
According to information supplied by the Brazilian Poultry Exporters Association (Abef), each ton exported costs on average US$ 2,000. Therefore, a shipment of 20,000 tons costs, on average, US$ 40 million, representing around 19% of revenues due to chicken sales on the foreign market in the month of July.
"It is a significant shipment, and marks the country’s presence," stated Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce president Antonio Sarkis Jr. "It is an opportunity to enter a market that was closed until very recently," he added.
Egypt has permitted for six months the import of frozen chicken, fresh and powdered eggs, and has also eliminated import tariffs on these products and on frozen cattle beef, fish and industrialized chicken. Apart from avoiding lack of supply, the objective behind the measure is to control rising food prices.
Sarkis pointed out, however, that when a country decides to open a sector of its economy, it is rare to turn back. "The doors have been opened and Brazil has the right product for the Egyptian market. Brazilian chicken has quality and slaughter obeys halal requirements," he said. "Companies must be aggressive and take advantage of the opportunity, as the best moment is when the market opens," he added.
According to Al Ahram, Abaza stated that the chicken purchased from Brazil is going to guarantee stocks for Ramadan. During this period, which this year should begin at around September 22 and end at about October 21, the Muslims fast during the day, but they have large meals at night. Apart from that, after the holy month, there is a period of feasts.
Before liberation of imports, the price of chicken on the Egyptian market had risen significantly due to the local ban on chicken raising, caused by avian flu in Egypt. According to the minister of Agriculture, only birds whose sanitary conditions are guaranteed may enter the country.
The beginning of sales to Egypt is good news in a year in which the poultry sector had been suffering losses. Although avian flu has not arrived in Brazil, local producers are suffering due to the retraction of global consumption caused by fear of the disease.
In July, according to statistics by the Abef, shipments totaled 185,700 tons, 29% less than in July 2005. Export revenues in the month totaled US$ 211.6 million, a reduction of 33.6%.
In the accumulated result for the year, sales on the foreign market totaled 1.426 million tons, retraction of 11.5% when compared to the first seven months of last year. Foreign trade revenues in the period from January to July totaled US$ 1.67 billion, a reduction of 9.2%.
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