Brazil Hopeful Global Crisis Will Strengthen the Country’s Beef Industry

Cattle from Brazil Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt and Libya once again stand out among the ten main import markets for Brazilian beef. From January to September this year, four Arab nations consumed over 440,000 tons of beef "made in Brazil".

"The Arab market is already used to Brazilian beef. We have established a practically unbeatable image in the region. They know of our quality and trustworthiness. Therefore there is no place in the world capable of beating Brazilian beef there," said Roberto Giannetti da Fonseca, president of the Abiec (Brazilian Beef Industry and Exporters Association).

The executive pointed out that nowadays those who purchase a good part of Brazilian beef are developing nations, emerging markets with buying power. "In these countries the tendency is to continue with strength. The great fight is the access to markets where there is much protectionism like Japan, the United States and Korea," he exemplified.

In percentages, the Arab countries represent a share of almost 20% of total Brazilian exports that, in the accumulated result for the year, totaled US$ 3.91 billion, a result that is 22% greater than in the first nine months of 2007, US$ 3.2 billion. The volume exported, however, registered a 16% drop in the same comparison, from 1.22 million tons to 1.02 million tons. "Despite the reduction in tonnage, good prices guaranteed growth of 22%," said Fonseca.

The month of September registered a historic monthly record in Brazilian beef exports, which reached a value of US$ 533.2 million. This value is 52% greater than revenues in September 2007. "It is a historic record for the month. We exceeded September last year both in tonnage and revenues," compared Fonseca.

The organization believes that Brazilian exports should reach US$ 5.2 billion up to the end of 2008. It has also already disclosed expectations for revenues of US$ 15 billion with beef exports in 2013. "This target is based on facts. Production may grow if we increase productivity, with no need to increase the herd and, mainly, if we reduce the informal and clandestine slaughter, which now represents between 30% and 40% of the approximately 45 million heads slaughtered in the country each year," he said.

"Our growth will be based on greater productivity, maintenance of emerging markets and winning new importers," he added.

According to Fonseca, the question of clandestine slaughter should be solved with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, which is going to tackle the matter heavily, with greater inspection. "We have space to grow very much. The challenge is now more here than in the foreign market. We must focus on integration of the productive chain, better production, competitiveness and formality, together with genetic and sanitary improvement," he pointed out.

The sector's growth estimate should be disclosed to businessmen and foreign press on October 20th, in Paris, during the Sial, one of the main food and beverage fairs in the world, which takes place every two years in France.

In Fonseca's evaluation, the global crisis may favor Brazil in the sector. "We are going to grow due to the problems of others," he said. His optimism is justified by the fact that, according to him, if Europe has problems with production of meats, they will surely have to import more.

"If the crisis is greater the consumption will drop in Europe and the United States. But as it will affect local production, they will have to import more, which may open space for Brazil," he said.



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