Minister calls for reaccreditation of poultry plants

Brazil’s Agriculture minister Tereza Cristina agreed on inspection by Saudi authorities that may lead to a resumption of sales from units that have been off the list since January. She also went over the last details before Brazilian beef sales to Kuwait begin anew.

Isaura Daniel

Kuwait City – Brazil’s minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Tereza Cristina, called on Saudi authorities to reaccredit Brazilian poultry companies to export to the Arab country that had been off the list since January. Tereza Cristina was in Riyadh on Monday (16) and Tuesday (17) as part of an official tour of four Arab countries. This Wednesday (18) she had meetings with authorities in Kuwait, where she’s concluding talks to resume beef exports.

The minister discussed both subjects in a conference with the Kuwaiti press and ANBA in Kuwait City. “We called for the resumption of sales by four plants that have been suspended,” explained Tereza Cristina regarding poultry exports from Brazil to Saudi Arabia. According to her, an agreement was reached for a Saudi technical mission to inspect the slaughter facilities Brazilian in November.

The suspension came as a result of divergences in halal slaughter methods. Saudis expect animals not to be stunned by electric shock before having their necks slit. “The halal process has always complied with the standards, only they changed it. They started demanding that the chickens didn’t get stunned into unconsciousness prior to slaughter,” Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA) CEO Ricardo Santin told ANBA.

The industry had been urging the minister to discuss the matter with the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA). According to Tereza Cristina, Saudi Arabians also hope that Brazilian companies will produce and process poultry in their country. “There’s one company that’s on the verge of coming to Saudi Arabia, and another one is in the early stages of the process,” the minister said, declining to name Saudi Arabia produces 50% of its poultry needs domestically, and is looking to get to 70%, according to Tereza Cristina

In Kuwait, the minister discussed the last details before exports of beef from Brazil resume. Sales have been on hold since 2013 as a result of a case of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy, aka mad cow disease, in Paraná, Brazil in late 2012. All other countries that had stopped buying from Brazil have since reconsidered, except for Kuwait.

She also sat down with the Food Safety Department of the Public Authority for Food and Nutrition (PAFN) to agree on issuance of the sanitary certificate for Brazilian beef.  According to the minister, 98% of the certificate is completed and agreed upon; only one minor detail is pending. She expects sales to begin this week. Kuwait imports USD 150 million worth of beef per year, according to Brazil’s ambassador to Kuwait, Norton de Andrade Mello Rapesta.

The minister called upon the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) to allocate funds to a small-scale farming program in Northeast Brazil. The program will be launched this year, and the minister requested a USD 50 million to enable it in a robust manner. The program involves nine production chains. “To get people above the poverty line and in the production system,” explained Tereza Cristina.

The minister also announced that Brazil may export honey to Kuwait. She also discussed technical and scientific cooperation in pisciculture, as well as fish exports. “My visiting here is to look people in the eye and tell them that Brazil is a good partner, one that’s been friends with Kuwait for many years, and that we’d like to expand our ties of friendship and trade, of scientific cooperation in every field of Brazilian agriculture,” she said.

Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

Isaura Daniel/ANBA

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