The city of Uberaba, in the interior of the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, is starting today the 73rd edition of Expozebu, a trade fair for zebu cattle that attracts farmers from Brazil and the world over and that is considered the world's largest fair of the kind. 500 overseas visitors are being expected.
Foreign visitors will include an Egyptian delegation that will come to sign a cooperation agreement with the Brazilian Zebu Cattle Raisers Association (ABCZ), the organizer of the event.
Delegation members will include the president of Alexandria University, Hassan Kheirallah, and the director of the veterinary medicine course at the university, Fekry Hussein.
During the fair, on May 04, ABCZ will donate genetic material (semen of zebu breeds) to Alexandria University. "We will implement a cooperation project with them. We should travel to Egypt in July to start working," says the foreign relations manager at ABCZ, Gerson Simão.
According to Simão, the relationship with the Egyptians began in 2004, when the Association attended Cairo International Fair. Since then, the Brazilians kept in touch with the Egyptian producers, with Alexandria University and with the trade promotion advisor at the Brazilian Embassy in Egypt, Abdel Hamid, who will be in the delegation coming to Expozebu.
Also in the delegation will be the director at the General Organization for Veterinary Services (OIE), Hamed Samaha, and the manager at the Delta Misr Farm, Abdel Gohary.
To Simão, the coming of the Egyptians to Expozebu will be of utmost importance for the Brazilian cattle raising industry. "Egypt is the second largest buyer of Brazilian meat (the first is Russia). But we do not sell live cattle to Egypt yet because of a non-tariff barrier, the 'screwworm fly'," he explains.
Currently, the largest exporter of live cattle to Egypt is Australia. "We are losing a market of US$ 50 million a year," says Simão, referring to Egypt alone. Last year, Brazil exported 140,000 live animals to Lebanon.
The manager at ABCZ claims that the group is coming to get acquainted with Brazilian herds and genetic technology, so they can start similar work in Egypt.
"They raise European animals there, which are accustomed to cold weather, and do not fare well in the desert," he says. "Here in Brazil, we have zebu cattle capable of tolerating heat."
The idea is to develop, in Egypt, cattle for slaughter and reproduction, turned to the production of both meat and milk. Besides the Egyptians, delegations will also come from Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Panama, the United States, South Africa and Venezuela. In all, 600 foreigners are expected to attend the event this year. Last year, they were 410.
In addition to 22 interpreters (fluent in Spanish and English), the fair will offer a program of special attractions for foreign visitors. One such attraction is the "Farm Tour," which will take foreigners to visit local farms.
Another facility is an exchange agreement with Agrishow – International Fair of Agricultural Technology in Action -, which will be held in the city of Ribeirão Preto, in the interior of the southeastern Brazilian state of São Paulo, between April 30 and May 5.
On May 3 and 4, ABCZ will make a bus available to transport those interested in attending Agrishow. The same service will be made available for foreign visitors at the fair in Ribeirão Preto who wish to go to Uberaba.
Expozebu brings together cattle farmers and people interested in zebu cattle farming, which includes breeds such as Nelore, Gir, Guzerá, Tabapuã, and Brahman. In addition to animal exhibitions, contests and auctions will be held. In parallel, there will be a rodeo and concerts featuring Brazilian country duos and popular bands.
Last year, nearly 250,000 people attended the event in Uberaba. This year, attendance is expected to reach much higher levels, since entrance will be free of charge. In 2006, financial turnover in auctions alone was 63.3 million Brazilian reais (US$ 31.2 million).
Anba – www.anba.com.br