Brazil's Poultry Exporters Association (Abef) promises to work hard to open new markets this year, in order to partly make up for the losses incurred due to the appreciation of the real (the Brazilian currency) against the dollar, which made the domestic product more expensive abroad, and due to the global demand retraction seen in 2009.
ABEF's executive director, Ricardo Santin, informed that the markets selected are the United States, Mexico, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Sudan, and Senegal. "We want to open up markets in order to have new sales options," stated the executive.
According to him, the industry resisted the international financial crisis well, "but is not doing a good job of exiting it," precisely due to the depreciation of the dollar, which forces companies to bring down their margins.
Exporters also want the federal government to give the industry breaks from some taxes, so as to reduce production costs, and to put pressure on countries that impose barriers on Brazilian products that are considered "illegitimate." As an example, Santin mentioned India.
In 2009, Brazilian chicken exports totaled 3.63 million tons, a figure very similar to the volume shipped in 2008. Revenues, however, dropped by 16.33% and totaled US$ 5.8 billion, as against US$ 6.9 billion in the previous year. There was growth in sales only to the Middle East, which is the leading market for Brazilian chicken exports, and to Africa. According to Santin, it was these two markets, in particular the Middle East, that prevented exports from dropping further in 2009.
He asserted that there was no retraction of demand in the Middle East because there "the GDP was less hit by the crisis than were other parts of the world." The executive adds that local production in the region was unable to match the rising consumption, and that there was a vast supply of imported products at lower prices than in 2008.
Other factors, according to Santin, vary from country to country, as is the case with Iraq, which strongly increased its chicken imports, non-existent until recently.
He also stated that Brazil is increasingly consolidating its markets in the region and perfecting the quality of its products. Halal slaughter, carried out according to Islamic tradition, for instance, is more and more widespread at Brazilian slaughterhouses. "The figure is on the rise," he said.
In the case of Africa, Santin stated that certain markets retrieved their liquidity as a consequence of the oil price recovery, such as Angola, and others, such as South Africa, reduced their import tariffs. Egypt, which until a short time ago did not import chicken from Brazil, increased its purchases by more than 100%. In this case, however, the executive said that the performance is probably due to the country's conjuncture. A few years ago, the Egyptian government ordered the culling of chicken in the country because of the avian flu, and then opened up the market to imports.
Another factor that favors sales to Africa is the population's rising income. According to Santin, the first thing a citizen does when he has some money is to consume more animal protein, of which chicken is the cheapest.