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UAE to be a priority for Brazilian fruit exports

The United Arab Emirates is one of the target markets of a new export agreement for Brazilian fruit, inked in January by the Brazilian Fruit Producers-Exporters Association (Abrafrutas) and the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil). The deal will be valid for two years, with Apex-Brasil investing R$ 4.2 million and Abrafrutas commiting R$ 1 million in promotional actions, training to businesses and overseas market positioning. Besides the United Arab Emirates, seven other countries are priorities for the project: United States, Hong Kong, Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, and France.

According to Abrafrutas chairman Luiz Roberto Barcelos, the main object of the agreement with Apex-Brasil is to increase fruit exports from Brazil, which are still meager. Brazil is the world’s third leading fruit producing country, after China and India, but only ships 2% of its production overseas.

“On average, Brazil exports US$ 650 million worth of fruit per year and the goal is to double that amount in five years. Other countries export more than Brazil, Chile being one of them. Chile ships out in excess of US$ 4 billion a year. Here we still have a family farming-type culture in this sector, rather than an export-oriented culture,” Barcelos told ANBA. Another reason for the low amount shipped abroad, Barcelos says, is the large domestic market. On the other hand, he remarked that Brazil has good logistics in place when it comes to exporting fruit, coupled with good access to major markets such as the United States and Europe.

“The project’s target markets have been picked based on demand for Brazilian fruit and logistics. There’s no use in going for a market we cannot tap into. The UAE have been selected because it’s a hub, meaning it can distribute to the entire region, because the Middle East has high purchasing power and are habitual fruit buyers. Besides, the logistics are good and we can get shipping transit times lower than 30 days, from 20 to 30 days,” he asserts.

The project’s manager at Apex-Brasil, Eduardo Caldas said the UAE has become a priority at the behest of the companies themselves. Some have been to the region to attend trade shows and believe good deals can be done with the Gulf country. Additionally, he claimed all markets are chosen by looking at qualitative and quantitative aspects.

He noted that the project is only getting started, but should bring good results in years to come. “We know we’re major producers and have great quality. All that’s left is to find the best-suited market to each fruit. Furthermore, through the project we will improve our production chain. The process of going global creates advantages to a company’s entire production chain, and occasionally even to a city or region”, he said.

According to Abrafrutas data, melon is the most exported fruit from Brazil: 55% of output gets shipped abroad. To the United Arab Emirates, the top export product is also melon, followed by watermelon. According to Barcelos, grapes and mangoes are also beginning to be sold from Brazil to the UAE.

Abrafrutas was established in March last year with an emphasis on exports. At this time, it has 29 affiliated companies, which account for 87% of the sector’s exports. Affiliates include producers of mango, apple, grape, melon and banana, among others.


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