The UAE accounted for the vast majority of the region’s sales, with US$6.2m worth of eggs imported, up 44% from the same period last year, making it the single largest market for Brazilian eggs in the world. In total the Middle East accounted for more than 71% of Brazil’s egg exports, and almost all of the sector’s growth.
Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also import some eggs from Brazil, but mostly buy hatching eggs, rather than eggs for consumption. With hatching eggs included, Brazil’s total exports to the region reached US$15.5m for the first half of the year, up 24% from the same period in 2014, with the UAE still by far the largest market.
New markets scramble
A leading supplier of poultry to the region, Brazil has been stepping up its efforts to promote its eggs in the Middle East. Following sharp declines in sales to previously key markets such as Angola and Hong Kong, the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA), which promotes eggs as well as meat, is keen to push eggs in one of its prime sales regions.
“We’re trying to go in the same path of Brazilian chicken. Brazilian chicken is in 155 countries around the world, we are the largest exporter of chicken – and now we’re trying to do the same thing with the egg. If you have good conditions and a good system to produce chicken meat, of course the same system is suitable to produce eggs,” said Ricardo Santin, vice-president for poultry at ABPA, speaking at Gulfood earlier this year.
Just 1% exported
But despite the sales push, egg exports remain a niche sector for Brazil, in comparison to its enormous poultry meat sales. According to Santin, the country is working to expand beyond just domestic consumption for its eggs.
“We are looking to sell more eggs. For chicken, we export 30% of our production – in eggs, just 1% of production is exported. So we are trying to develop this, and increase exports of eggs,” he said.
Speaking about the declining sales elsewhere in the world, Santin told the Brazil-Arab News agency: “We were forced to seek an alternative and the Middle East became a nice, and now established, option.”