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  1. #22
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    São Paulo, November 6, 2007 – The president at the Brazilian Beef Industry and Exporters Association (Abiec), Marcus Vinícius Pratini de Moraes, stated yesterday (05) that the beef sector is interested in establishing binational companies and joint ventures with Algerian companies, mainly in the areas of distribution, preparation and stocking of products. "Our objective is not to have the entire productive chain in the hands of Brazilian companies, but to work in cooperation with local businesses and develop greater business," he said, after meeting with the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Algeria, Said Barkat, at the Abiec offices in São Paulo, southeastern Brazil.

    The Arab country, located in North Africa, was the ninth main buyer of Brazilian cattle beef from January to September this year, having imported US$ 81.105 million, or 61.000 tonnes. "Algeria is currently one of the main consumers of Brazilian beef. Our exports have been rising solidly since 2002. It is an important market, a demanding one that is buying more and more noble meats," said Pratini. According to him, these are the main reasons for the sector to have interest in establishing closer relations between Brazil and the Arab country.

    Pratini, who has already been the Algerian minister of Agriculture, also stated that the Abiec has had several meetings and discussions to solve the natural problems related to trade. "We are very pleased with the business with Algeria. I think that it is going to continue growing," he added.

    The statement by Pratini is in direct agreement with what the Algerian minister said yesterday during his visit to the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce offices, where he discussed the importance of partnerships and investment. After the meeting at the Abiec, the minister recalled that, apart from beef, Algeria imports large volumes of milk from Brazil. "We are very interested in cooperation in the beef sector and in Brazilian milk production technology," he said. For this reason, the minister is going to visit dairy farms and slaughterhouses during his stay in Brazil.

    Still yesterday, the Algerian minister visited the Federation of Muslim Associations of Brazil (Fambras), which is responsible for halal slaughter certification, a requirement for export to Muslim countries. The executive director at the organisation, Mohamed Hussein El Zoghbi, who received the minister, also participated in the meeting at Abiec.


  2. #23
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    São Paulo, November 6, 2007 – The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Algeria, Said Barkat, said yesterday in an exclusive interview to ANBA, that his country wants to attract Brazilian investment to the agricultural sector. "There is much fertile land in Algeria, belonging or not to Algerians, which may add value to the production of items like milk, grain and olive oil, among others," he said, after meeting with board members at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo.

    This added value, in his evaluation, is markets that Brazilian products may reach through Algeria. First of all the local market. The country has a population of 33.4 million inhabitants – whose demand for agricultural products rises constantly - an economy that, according to the minister, grows 5.6% a year, with inflation rates that do not exceed 2%.

    Apart from that, according to Barkat, Algeria may serve as an export platform to other African nations and to the European Union (EU). As is the case with other countries in North Africa, Algeria has association agreements with the EU. Barkat added that his government offers a series of incentives to investors, including tax benefits and free transfer of capitals.

    He also pointed out that the country also has opportunities in the privatisation of state-owned companies. "There are opportunities in the agricultural area, in agroindustry and also in other areas," he said. The same may be said, according to the minister, in the case of partnerships with Algerian companies in several fields.

    In the meeting with board members at the Arab Brazilian Chamber – which included the organisation's president, Antonio Sarkis Jr., the secretary general, Michel Alaby, director Nahid Chicani and the minister's advisors - Barkat stated that relations between both countries need solid economic bases. "That which involves investment is what remains," he declared.

    The minister pointed out that China has been investing heavily in Algeria and also in other Arab nations. "Most of the products consumed in the Arab world come from abroad and it would be a good opportunity for the Chamber to promote investment from Brazil in the Arab nations. Economic movement starts through trade and then moves to investment," he said. "If there are companies interested in investing in the agricultural sector we will do all we can to facilitate it. This is an engagement that I take in the name of the government of Algeria," he added.

    According to the minister, the volume of investment in Algeria currently exceeds US$ 100 billion, especially in the area of infrastructure. "Algeria has never seen something like this," he said. Apart from foreign funds, coming mainly from other Arab nations, the country has been benefiting from oil and gas export revenues. According to Barkat, "the Arab brothers have awoken to opportunities" offered by the strategic position of Algeria and "have invested heavily there".

    "It seems like you have been participating in the Chamber board meetings," joked Sarkis, referring to the fact that investment promotion has been one of the organisation's main concerns. An internal committee has even been established to formulate actions in this area and is producing studies about investment opportunities in the Arab world. The institution recently launched a report about the possibilities existing in Brazil.

    "We should work to expand partnerships and investment," pointed our Sarkis, recalling that last year, for the first time, investment by Brazilian companies abroad was greater than foreign direct investment in the country. "Starting next year Brazil will become an international creditor and we will be very close to being rated 'investment grade' (by international rating agencies), which should favour greater entry of foreign capital and also simplify the internationalisation of Brazilian companies," he added.

    Facilitation

    To ANBA the minister stated that the obligation of governments is to simplify the investment flow, so, during his stay in Brazil, he will meet with the ministers of Agriculture, Reinhold Stephanes, and of Agrarian Development, Guilherme Cassel.

    "But economic relations are promoted by private companies," he pointed out. Therefore, up to Sunday he is going to travel to the interior of the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, in southeastern Brazil, and to Pernambuco, in the northeast of the country, to visit slaughterhouses, dairy and fruit producers and sector organisations. In this respect he is going to present to businessmen what Algeria may offer.

    Algeria imports great volumes of Brazilian products like sugar, cattle beef and dairy products. The country has also already received Brazilian investment. Companies like Randon, a maker of trailers for lorries, and Neobus, a bus body producer, have assembly lines there in partnership with local companies. Construction company Andrade Gutierrez, in turn, won a series of tenders promoted by the government of Algeria.

    The trade balance between both countries, however, is very favourable to Algeria. From January to September this year, Brazilian exports to the Arab country generated US$ 354.4 million, whereas imports of Algerian products totalled US$ 1.26 billion. The export basket to Algeria, however, is basically concentrated on oil and naphtha. Barkat pointed out, however, that these products do not guarantee long-term relations, as oil is a commodity and suppliers may be replaced. "But services, investment and agriculture guarantee lasting relations," he said.

    South-South cooperation

    The minister pointed out that his visit is the outcome of meetings between presidents Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, of Brazil, and Abdelaziz Bouteflika, of Algeria, in 2005, in Brasília, and in 2006, in Algiers. "We want more and are prepared for more," he said, enthused by South-South cooperation. "We are for the South-South partnership. Through it we may sponsor economic development and take part in great international decisions," he declared. Barkat is also going to visit the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) units turned to vegetables and agriculture in the semiarid.

    In the meeting with the board of directors at the Chamber, Sarkis also spoke about the organisations activities that brought it to be recognised by several Brazilian government organisations as the second most active chamber of commerce in the country, second only to the American Chamber of Commerce. He also spoke about the massive presence of Arabs and descendents in the country and about important activities of members of the community in several areas.

    "I would like to place our structure at your disposal and at the disposal of the government of Algeria. Here you have more than an office in Brazil, you have your home," said Sarkis. Barkat pointed out that the success of the Arabs in Brazil causes the same emotion "that a father feels for the success of his son" and that Algeria and the League of Arab States itself are proud of the Arab community in Brazil. "And the Chamber has already done so much in its 55 years of existence that the Arab world needs it as a gateway into Brazil," pointed out the minister. "If the organisation has been successful, it means that the Arab world will also be successful," he finished off. "The Chamber likes to work, we want you to give us work," answered Sarkis.


  3. #24
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    São Paulo, November 7, 2007 – The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Algeria, Said Barkat, learnt yesterday a little about the Brazilian cattle beef productive chain. He travelled to the city of Lins, in the interior of the state of São Paulo, and visited a farm belonging to Bertin group, where there is an artificial insemination centre and a slaughterhouse. Halal slaughter was was taking place there, in accordance with Muslim requirements.

    Accoridng to the advisor to the foreign relations secretariat at the Ministry of Agriculture of Brazil, Rui Samarcos Lora, who accompanied the visit, the minister met with directors at the group and invited them to Algeria in search of partnerships with local companies. Lora added that Barkat also spoke about genetic improvement of animals and about the possibility of his country buying the semen of Brazilan bulls.

    "But the talks were not focussed just on that, he also mentioned opportunities for expansion of business in the area," said the advisor. The theme of the meeting was on the lines of what Barkat said on Monday at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and at the Brazilian Beef Industry and Exporters Association (Abiec). He wants companies in the agribusiness sector to invest in Algeria and use the country as an export platform to the countries in Africa and Europe.

    The minister, according to Lora, made questions about halal certification – he was accompanied by a member of the Federation of Muslim Associations of Brazil (Fambras), which is responsible for halal certification – and Bertin directors explained how the meat packing plant operates. Márcio Caparroz, from the Abiec, also accompanied the visit.

    Bertin is one of the main Brazilan meat packing plants, but the group operates in several areas, like production of cosmetics, leather, safety shoes, cleaning products, products for animal feeding, civil construction, basic sanitation, highway concession, energy generation and hotel management. The company recently entered the biodiesel sector.

    The slaughterhouse already exports to the Arab market, including Algeria. This year the company participated in the Gulfood, the main food sector fair in the Middle East, which took place in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. The group, according to its internet page, has 30 production units and 30,000 employees.

    Dairy

    Today minister Barkat is going to continue visiting agroindusties. He is in the city of Uberlândia, in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, where he is going to visit the installations of Itambé, a dairy product factory that has 27 associated cooperatives, 8,000 suppliers and 2,800 employees, according to the company itself.

    This evening he will head to Brazilian capital Brasília, where he will meet tomorrow with representatives of the National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA). He is also scheduled to meet the ministers of Agricuture, Reinhold Stephanes, and Agrarian Development, Guilherme Cassel.

    Meat and milk are among the main products imported by Algeria from Brazil. From January to September this year, according to the Abiec, the country purchased 61,000 tonnes of Brazilian cattle beef, which generated revenues of US$ 81.1 million. In the same period, the country imported the equivalent to US$ 23.2 million in powdered milk and other dairy products from Brazil.


  4. #25
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    São Paulo, November 8, 2007 – Representatives of Itambé, one of the leading Brazilian dairy industries, will visit Algeria early next year after an invitation made yesterday by the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Arab country, Said Barkat. "He invited us to go to Algeria to check the prospects for investing in milk production and industrialisation. And we will probably go to get acquainted with a market we have been supplying for 15 years now," said to ANBA the vice-president at the company, Jacques Gontijo, who received the minister at a factory owned by the company in the city of Uberlândia, in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.

    According to Gontijo, Itambé will look at the possibility of investing in milk industrialisation in Algeria. "Apart from the government, we have many customers who reprocess milk there, and we could carry out this operation in the country too," he said. According to him, the company will look at the option "very intently", not only aiming at the Algerian market, which is the leading foreign market for Brazilian milk, but also with the objective of setting up an export platform to other African nations. "Libya, Egypt and Sudan, large importers of milk, are close by," he stated.

    Gontijo said that Algeria accounts for 15% of Brazilian milk exports, and in the case of Itambé, the Arab country's share should be between 20% and 25% of total exports this year. "It is the main destination for Brazil, and for Itambé as well", he claimed. According to him, the company exports 15% of the milk it processes. Total production is approximately 1.5 billion litres per year, resulting in revenues of approximately 1.7 billion Brazilian reais (US$ 981.2 million). Overall Brazilian exports, according to the executive, should range from 700 million to 800 million litres this year, and revenues from foreign sales should total US$ 200 million.

    Yesterday, Barkat visited a farm owned by one of Itambé's affiliates, and the factory where the company produces powdered milk, the leading export product. "He was surprised with the advanced level of production conditions", said Gontijo. According to him, this year, powdered milk shipments to Algeria should reach 10,000 tonnes. Other products greatly traded by the company on the foreign market were condensed milk and evaporated milk, a kind of unsweetened condensed milk, from which half of the water is removed.

    Apart from Algeria, Itambé also sells to other Arab countries, like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The Emirates, according to Gontijo, being a large commercial centre, import and distribute milk to several other markets. "Over half of our exports certainly go to the region,” he claimed.

    Itambé is a cooperative with 8,000 associated producers who supply 3.6 million litres of milk a day to the group’s four industrial units, the one visited by the minister, two in the state of Minas Gerais, also in southeastern Brazil, and the other in Goiás (MW). The organisation employs almost 3,000 people. Company foreign sales are made through Serlac, a dairy product trading company that belongs to Itambé group, another four companies in the field and Sertrading, which works in general foreign trade.

    Beef

    Another company that plans to travel to Algeria is meat packing plant Bertin, which was visited by minister Barkat on Tuesday. According to the company director for foreign markets, Marcos Bicchieri, a trade delegation should travel to the country in North Africa. "Bertin Group has done business in Algeria, through trade partners, and is very interested in expanding this presence in the country. At the invitation of the minister, the company plans to promote a trade mission to the country in the near future,” he said to ANBA by e-mail.

    Bertin is among the main Brazilian exporters of beef and, according to Bicchieri, 10% of the organisation’s foreign sales go to Algeria. When asked whether the company plans to invest there, the executive stated that the group is always open to new business opportunities. He added that there is a possibility of the group exporting the semen of Brazilian bulls to the Arab country.

    "The minister showed great interest in furthering trade relations between both countries. He even commented that he plans to recommend that other ministries do the same, both in the case of cattle beef as in other products. Brazil and Algeria are expanding strongly, which helps in the establishment of partnerships,” stated Bicchieri. "The country has an enormous potential for growth and great interest in doing business there, also due to the privileged geographic position, he finished off, referring to the country’s proximity with Europe, the Middle East and other African countries.

    Objective

    Attracting Brazilian investment to the agribusiness sector in Algeria has been the main objective behind Barkat’s visit to Brazil, which started on Monday. He had already discussed the matter at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and at the Brazilian Beef Industry and Exporters Association (Abiec).

    Today, Barkat will be in Brazilian capital Brasília, where he will meet with representatives of the National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA) and with the ministers of Agriculture, Reinhold Stephanes, and Agrarian Development, Guilherme Cassel.

    Contact

    Itambé

    Tel: (+55 31) 3249-3831
    Site: Itambé

    Bertin

    Site: Grupo Bertin

    Itambé looks at investing in Algeria

  5. #26
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    Brasília, November 9, 2007 – The executive secretary at the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Silas Brasileiro, presented yesterday to the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Algeria, Said Barkat, a proposal for the establishment of a Bilateral Agricultural Enquiry Committee, with the objective of discussing and solving each year all the pending matters existing with regard to trade of agricultural and livestock products between both countries.

    At the same meeting, the foreign relations secretary at the Brazilian ministry, Célio Porto, announced that the organisation expects to promote a sector trade delegation to the Middle East and North Africa in the first half of 2008. This was one of the three meetings that Barkat had in Brazilian capital Brasília as part of his one-week trip to Brazil, whose target is establishing partnerships in the agricultural area.

    "The proposal is for the committee to meet every year, once in Brazil and the next time in Algeria," said Silas Brasileiro, who represented minister Reinhold Stephanes, called on yesterday by Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to participate in another government event. "We came here to try to clarify the norms and bureaucratic difficulties to simplify the life of those who want to trade," explained Barkat. The minutes of the agreement are now to be analysed by the Algerians for later signing by both governments.

    The resolution of bottlenecks to agricultural trade was one of the concerns presented by government representatives and Brazilian farmers. In 2005, when there was an outbreak of foot and mouth in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Algeria temporarily suspended imports of Brazilian beef, and exports from the state of Mato Grosso do Sul have not yet been retaken.

    Célio Porto added that the demands applied to Argentina for export of milk to the Arab country are lower than those adopted in the case of Brazil. "We would like the same treatment to have greater market access," stated Porto.

    According to information supplied by the National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA), farmers answer to 84% of Brazilian exports to Algeria, and the main products shipped are sugar, beef and powdered milk.

    Prospecting

    Regarding the mission, the foreign relations secretary at the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture said to ANBA that next week an employee of the ministry is going to travel to the Middle East and North Africa to prospect countries that may be visited, like the Arab Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the non-Arab Iran and Turkey.

    The idea, according to him, is that minister Stephanes should lead a delegation of businessmen, but that the trip may be broken into two, a trade one and a government one, depending on the minister's agenda and on the results of prospecting. He added that the target is not just to expand Brazilian exports but also to verify what more may be purchased from Algeria, including fertilizers, of which the country produces large volumes.

    The promotion of a mission was also one of the matters discussed during Barkat's visit to the CNA. The minister wants to attract investment to the Algerian agricultural sector and wants Brazilian businessmen to use the country as an export platform to Africa and Europe. "We are going to inform state federations of agriculture about the production and investment possibilities in Algeria and, in case there is interest, we will be in contact with the Algerian embassy to take a group and see what opportunities there are in loco," stated the president of the national permanent beef cattle forum at the CNA, Antenor Nogueira. Prior to that meeting, Barkat was received by CNA president Fábio de Salles Meirelles.

    The president of the Federation of Agriculture and Livestock of the State of Mato Grosso do Sul (Fenasul), Ademar Silva Júnior, stated that producers from the midwestern Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul plan to promote a delegation to the Arab country. "Not only to learn about agriculture there, but also to improve human ties," he said. The Ministry of Agriculture of Brazil has just declared the state free of foot and mouth disease with vaccination and the plan is to return to selling to Algeria. Barkat stated that when the government of his country receives the documentation from the Brazilian ministry, and if they agree with the Algerian norms, purchases from the state of Mato Grosso do Sul may be reopened immediately.

    Barkat pointed out that there is arable land available in his country and that, apart from investment, the country would like to attract Brazilian know how for production. He added, during the meeting with Silas Brasleiro, that Algeria has "thousands" of hectares that may be granted, free of charge, for 99 years, renewable, and that the country can supply energy "almost for free".

    The meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture of Brazil included representatives of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) and other research organisations, offering possibilities for transfer of agricultural technology to Algeria.

    Barkat wants to boost South-South cooperation and several times defended that relations between both countries must go beyond trade. "Other countries are knocking on our door, but we would prefer to work with our friends," he declared. "And I can also choose the United States or Europe, but I choose Latin America. And if I chose South America, I choose Brazil. This is not only my position, it is also the position of my country."

    To him, emerging countries must negotiate among themselves and establish partnerships, avoiding that rich countries dictate international foreign trade rules. As examples he mentioned oil, which is at US$ 100 a barrel. This increase, in his evaluation, took place at European and North American stock markets. According to Barkat, if Algeria has gained with appreciation, as the country produces oil, the country has lost with the depreciation of the dollar. "We granted with one hand and took with the other," he said.

    Development

    Barkat also met with the minister of Agrarian Development, Guilherme Cassel. The ministry manages agrarian reform and family farming. They both discussed the policies for the existing area in both countries, like subsidised credit and training, among others. According to the Ministry, family-farming answers to 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Brazil, to 65% of the food consumed in the country and to 76% of the labour in the interior.

    In Algeria, according to Barkat, incentive programs are causing people who left the countryside and moved to cities to take the opposite route. Both ministers discussed the possibility of the immediate start of a program for the exchange of experiences in this area. "It is a good beginning," said Barkat to ANBA.


  6. #27
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    São Paulo, November 9, 2007 – The Algerian minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Said Barkat, paid a visit today, in the Brazilian capital Brasília, to the vegetables unit of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa). According to the press office at the organisation, he was welcomed by the head at the centre, José Amauri Buso, and showed interest in signing a technical cooperation agreement with Embrapa.

    According to the press office, in the specific case of the vegetables unit, Barkat was interested in solutions to two problems facing Algerian agriculture. One of them is the loss that occurs after harvest. Embrapa has a package of solutions aimed at reducing those losses, involving actions in the fields of logistics, processing, and packing, among others.

    He also wants to have access to the production technology for seed potato owned by Embrapa. When one potato is planted, others sprout. The company developed a totally clean "mother" plant, free from viruses or any other plague, which is capable of giving birth to equally clean descendents. According to the press office, this was an initial contact that should be developed in the future.

    Also today, the minister and his delegation travelled to the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco, where they paid visits to the Embrapa Semiarid, to fruit farmers, and had a meeting with the governor of the state, Eduardo Campos. Barkat will return to his country on Sunday, after spending a week in Brazil visiting companies, sector organisations, and public organisations linked to agribusiness.


  7. #28
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    São Paulo, November 12, 2007 -- The Algerian minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Said Barkat, met this weekend, in the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco, with the head of the semiarid unit at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), Pedro Gama. According to the advisor to the foreign relations secretariat at the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Rui Samarcos Lora, who accompanied Barkat, the two discussed possibilities for technical cooperation and exchange in the agricultural field.

    On Friday (9th) the minister had already talked about cooperation with the head of Embrapa Vegetables, in the Federal District. The terms of an eventual agreement will be discussed later on by the two countries.

    Also in Pernambuco, Barkat visited a small grape farmer, a medium-sized mango farmer, and winery Rio Sol, which has a large production of grapes. Fruit planting in the region of the São Francisco River Valley is carried out using technology developed by Embrapa Semiarid.

    The minister also had a meeting with the governor of the state, Eduardo Campos, grandson of former governor Miguel Arraes, who was exiled in Algeria during the military dictatorship in Brazil and made many friends there. Also present was the widow of Arraes, Madalena.

    Barkat and his delegation flew back to Algiers yesterday, after a week in Brazil visiting sector organisations, companies, rural properties, government organisations, and research centres.


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