How Brazil Breeders Are Improving Arab Cattle

    The breeders of bovines of the zebu breeds of Brazil are preparing themselves for a new adventure: to cultivate the African continent. The first trade contact between businessmen in Mauritania and Brazilian breeders took place last week, in the city of Uberaba, in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.

    According to Jorge Dias, supervisor of foreign relations at the Brazilian Zebu Breeders Association (ABCZ), the meeting was productive and should generate business on the long term.


    “The African climate is favorable to the development of the zebu breeds, it is similar to the Brazilian, which helps in the animals’ adaptation,” he stated.


    Dias said that, initially, the idea is to export live animals from Brazil to improve the local herd. The date for the first shipment still hasn’t been set, but it should be addressed to the Mauritanian veterinary doctor Habib Fall, one of the five entrepreneurs participating in the committee from Mauritania.


    Cattle breeders in Lebanon and Senegal make this kind of operation since 2003. In the past, Lebanese imported about 10,000 heads of cattle from the Brazilians. The transaction was supervised by the export consortium Brazilian Cattle Genetics (BCG), from ABCZ.


    Port of entry


    Mauritania is part of the Maghreb – group of Arab countries located in the north of the African continent. Because of the trade agreements with the neighbors, the country, as well as the other members of the bloc (Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco), has been considered the port of entry to Africa for exporters.


    In 2004, the Brazilian exports to the country added up to US$ 39.6 million, against US$ 19.4 million in 2003 and US$ 24 million in 2002. In the previous years, the shipments were less than US$ 5 million. Sugar is the main item in the export basket, followed by powdered milk and axis and wheels to be used in trains.


    Technology


    Trade of zebu semen was also a subject that interested the African committee. According to Dias, the Republic of Cameroon is amongst the countries which should import the Brazilian technology yet this year. “They want our advisory to improve and modernise the technology in the embryo centres that exist in the Cameroon,” he said.


    Brazil has experience in the subject. Businessmen from Angola, for example, receive Brazilian help and buy semen from the country since 2003, and Mozambique, since 2004. The volumes traded with these countries last year were, respectively, 2,100 and 1,000 doses.


    Herd


    Brazil currently has the greatest trade herd in the world, with 195 million animals, according to information from the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE). About 80% are zebu breeds – pure or with a percentage of blood from other breeds. The main breeds in the country’s farms are Nelore, Gir, Guzerá, Tabapuã and Brahman.


    Translated by Silvia Lindsey
    ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency

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