The United States, was the main importer of Brazilian cooperatives products last year. The US imported US$ 318 million from these companies in 2006, an increase of 420% over 2005, when the North Americans imported US$ 61 million.
With regard to volume, the total shipped to the US was 449,000 tons, an increase of 916.2% over the 44,000 tons exported in 2005.
"The main product sold to the United States last year, and the product mainly responsible for the increase in exports was ethanol," stated Freitas. "But our most faithful and stable markets are the Emirates, China and Europe," he said.
The United Arab Emirates came in second for products exported by Brazilian cooperatives. In 2006 the Arab country imported US$ 280 million, with growth of 121% over the result for 2005, when purchases totaled US$ 126 million.
In terms of volume, the purchases rose 57%, from 529,000 tons in 2005 to 835,000 tons in 2006.
"The United Arab Emirates have been a traditional market for exports of Brazilian cooperatives for some years. They are VIP clients," said the president of the Organization of Brazilian Cooperatives (OCB), Márcio Lopes de Freitas.
"In 2006, they surprised us positively due to the great growth, powered by sugar and meats, mainly chicken," he said.
According to Freitas, the main suppliers are, in the case of sugar, cooperatives from the southeast – especially in the state of São Paulo. With regard to exports of meats, the main supplier is the southern region, mainly the states of Paraná and Santa Catarina.
Saudi Arabia also stands out in the list of main import markets for Brazilian cooperatives. In seventh place in the ranking in 2006, the Saudis imported US$ 124 million, 30% more than in 2005, when the value was US$ 95 million. However, the volume was lower, dropping from 429,000 tons in 2005 to 338,000 tons last year. "This shows that we are exporting greater added value products," stated Freitas.
"Brazilian cooperatives are very strong. They are responsible for around 40% of the agricultural GDP and for 6% of total agribusiness exports," explained the president at the OCB.
"The target is to reach the same percentage we have of the agricultural GDP (40%) in exports. We know that this will still take a few years, but we are working for it," he guaranteed.
Last year, Brazilian cooperatives exported US$ 2.83 billion, an increase of 25.7% when compared to 2005, when exports totaled US$ 2.2 billion. In terms of volume, the growth was 15.5%, rising from 6.5 million tons in 2005 to 7.5 million tons in 2006. "In 2006 we exported to 137 countries. Of these, 12 were new markets," commemorated Freitas.
According to him, since 2000 there has been a program for professional qualification in the cooperatives to provide incentives to exports and to increase income of associated producers.
The forecast for 2007 is to end the year with growth in foreign sales. "We intend to maintain a percentage of growth of around 15%, expanding the scope of products produced by cooperatives, like maize, milk, fruit and flowers, which have space on the global market," guaranteed the manager.
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