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Halal Beef From NE Brazil To Arab Markets

14 December 2010

BRAZIL - Equatorial Alimentos, a slaughterhouse from the state of Maranhão, already exports to Saudi Arabia, Palestine, the Emirates, Libya and Jordan, and aims to expand operation in the Arab world.

Eight months ago, Equatorial Alimentos started exporting to the Arab market, according to the Brazil-Arab News agency, ANBA. Sales started to Saudi Arabia and the company now has markets like Palestine, the United Arab Emirates, Libya and Jordan among its clients. Now, the slaughterhouse headquartered in the state of Maranhão wants to boost business in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa.

According to Alessandro Mendonça, the export supervisor is responsible for the company's halal slaughter; Equatorial currently exports 20 per cent of production, a figure that should grow in the near future.

"We already have approval by the director to expand the figure to 40 per cent of production and, in future, at least 50 per cent should be turned to exports," he explained. Of this total, most will be turned to the Arab nations. "Today, we have approximately 18 per cent halal production. Our target is to reach at least 30 per cent halal and 20 per cent non-halal products for export," he explained.

With the price oscillation in the Brazilian beef market, Mr Mendonça believes that the importance of the Arab world to slaughterhouses is on the rise. "It is becoming a strategic market. Our perspectives are for the foreign market to become greatly viable in six to seven months."

Currently, apart from the Arab countries already mentioned, Equatorial exports to Hong Kong, China and Georgia. The slaughterhouse is also negotiating with Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq, Oman and Egypt.

To guarantee expansion of the business in the region, the slaughterhouse is participating in events and roundtables to win new contracts with Arab clients. "In February, we are going to Gulfood – the largest food sector fair in the Middle East, in Dubai. We are not going to have our own stand, as time is too short. We are going there with courage, taking brochures, cards, we are going to try to place a Northeastern slaughterhouse in the Arab world," he said.

Currently, Equatorial exports are both direct and through trading companies. One of them, Ei-log, is headquartered in Pelotas, in Rio Grande do Sul, and also has representation in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. "We are planning to establish some partnership, mainly at Gulfood, which is an opportunity to place the Equatorial name in the market, taking halal beef to the Middle East," said Mohamad Sus, sales consultant at Ei-log.

Mr Mendonça said there will be other actions to promote the brand among the Arabs. "We are going to try to invest in marketing, in fairs, in seeking new partners and events in which we may place our beef," he said.

At the Equatorial offices, in Açailândia, all slaughter is halal. The company also has two plants in Pará, in the cities of Eldorado dos Carajás and Altamira. A new unit in the state will be inaugurated in early 2011, in the city of Novo Repartimento. In total, the slaughterhouse processes 2,000 head of cattle a day, a figure that should reach 3,500 with the fourth plant. The company does not reveal total revenues but monthly exports generate between 10 million and 15 million Brazilian reals (BRR; US$5.9 million to $8.8 million).

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