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16/05/2017 - 17:39hs
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Saudi, Brazilian executives discuss investments

A business delegation headed by Brazil’s minister of Agriculture, Blairo Maggi, travelling through the Gulf met in Riyadh with executives from food industry companies and also with investors.



Riyadh – Brazilian business executives that are part of the delegation of the Ministry of Agriculture that is in a mission through four Gulf countries met in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this Tuesday (16) with executives from large food industry companies and with investors. Both sides expressed a positive viewepoint for the development of business.

Alexandre Rocha/ANBA

Ana Ferrari presented a project of the Barufi poultry farm to Kadri (L)

“I approve 90% of what was presented,” said the president of the Saudi investments company WK Capital, Wahdan Al Kadi. The company has an office in São Paulo. “The government and the private sector here are focused in agribusiness in places such as Brazil,” he pointed out.

Since water is a scarce resource in Saudi Arabia, currently the country’s strategy is to preserve it for human consumption and invest in agricultural production in places that hold abundant area and natural resources. “This is the best time for foreigners to come here, since there’s an interest in looking outwards and in diversifying the economy beyond oil,” said Kadi.

Janine de Menezes, director of Biofish, which breeds Amazon freshwater fish species in Rondônia, approved the meeting with Kadi and aims to follow up on the talks. She wants to increase production through modules with 500 hectares of waterline, which requires an investments of BRL 50 million (USD 16.14 million) per module.

“There’s a demand already charted in Asia, United States and in the Middle East also,” said Menezes. Currently, the company’s output goes only to the Brazilian market. “But the projects that we’re presenting here are focused on exports,” she said.

Alexandre Rocha/ANBA

Sílvio Cunha Neto, from AgroExport, and Janine Menezes, from Biofish, are part of the delegation

Along similar lines, Ana Ferrari, from Granja Barufi, São Paulo state, is searching for resources to increase the capacity of poultry and fertile eggs production. “They are interested in a production tailored to Saudi Arabia, with traceability and 100% vegetable feed, and that’s what we offer,” she said.

The poultry farm doesn’t do the slaughtering. However, Ferrari said that the company has partnerships with certified slaughterhouses to export. The idea is to increase the production from 1.5 million per 42-day cycles to 6 million, and for that the investment required is BRL 50 million (USD 16.14 million).

Still in the poultry sector, Nestor Freiberger, president of Agrosul and the Rio Grande do Sul Poultry Association (Asgav), presented a business plan with a term of five years and the need for USD 50 million in investments. The goal is to double the plant’s slaughtering capacity, which now is of 80,000 chickens per day. His company already exports to Saudi Arabia.

“We have to go find the deals, to go find the investors. They have the funds and we have the natural resources,” pointed out Freiberger. “Staying at home is not a solution for getting things done,” he said.

Alexandre Rocha/ANBA

Kadri (R) talks with Rubens Hannun (left, to the middle) and Michel Alaby (in the background)

Leonardo Einsfeld, diretor of AgrinvestBR, a company that attract investments into Brazilian agribusiness ventures, presented opportunities for investments in soy, coffee and cattle farms, sugar mills and meat processing plants. These are businesses that need an infusion of capital, a partner or a buyer. “There was a great receptivity to the number of options in Brazil,” he added.

To the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce’s president Rubens Hannun and CEO of Michel Alaby, Kadi argued for more visits of Brazilian executives to Saudi Arabia and of Saudi executives to Brazil as a way to maintain the interest in bilateral trade and investments. He added that Brazil is seen as a priority for agribusiness investments and that he’s planning to travel to the country at the end of the year to see the projects up close.

Giants

Also this Tuesday, the delegation visited the headquarters of the Arabian Agriculture Services Company (Arasco), which operates with sea transportation, imports, processing and trade of agricultural products, with 70% of its inputs coming from South America, especially Argentina.

Alexandre Rocha/ANBA

Alhusseini (third from left to right): plans to do more business in Brazil

The Arasco executives that talked to Brazilians know Brazil well. “We do a lot of business with Brazil and are planning for more,” said the company’s CEO, Abdulmalik Alhusseini.

Khaled Alrubaian, investments director, added that Saudi Arabia is among the four largest grain importers in the world. The company purchases three million tons per year, but plans to increase its capacity to between five million and six million tons until 2020.

In addition to distributing to third-parties, Arasco, which owns a ship fleet, uses part of items that it imports to produce animal feed and inputs for the food industry, and also produces poultry and fertilizers.

“We are a private company with many partners. We have been to Brazil many times and enjoy doing business in the country”, said Alhusseini. “The answer for food security in Saudi Arabia is not self-sufficiency, but the business of import, of supply chain”, he said.

One of the concerns of the company is the Brazilian port infrastructure and the possibility of delays in loading and unloading ships due to traffic. Regarding this, the executives asked many questions to Jailson Macedo Luz, director of Planning and Development of the Itaqui Port, in Maranhão.

The company is interested also in exporting products such as fertilizers to Brazil. The country imports the majority of what it uses. “It could be that the opportunity is here or in both countries,” said Alhusseini.

The business executives were also welcomed by executives from the Savola group, which operates in the retail and agricultural sectors. ANBA will publish more information on this meeting soon.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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