The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has granted phytosanitary certification for exports from four Colombian beef processors, allowing Colombian ranchers to tap into Saudi Arabia’s $400 million USD beef market. Red Cárnica S.A.S. from Córdoba (belonging to Athena Foods, of Minerva Foods); the Planta Ecológica de Beneficio Animal – Río Frío S.A.S. from Santander; Frigorífico del Sinú – Frigosinú S.A. From Cordoba; and Cooperativa Colanta – Frigocolanta S.A. from Antioquia are the beneficiaries of the sanitary diplomacy of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the Ministry of Agriculture, Invima, Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (Colombian Acriculture & Fisheries Institute) and ProColombia.
“We have identified that the centers of consumption for imported meat are centered in Riyadh, the capital of the country; in Mecca where millions of Muslims arrive, and in Jeddah, one of the shopping destinations,” said Leandro Protzen, the COO of Athena Foods Colombia, a subsidiary of Chile-based Minerva Foods.
Colombia already has phytosanitary admissibility in the countries of Russia, Israel, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Peru, Chile, Angola, Curacao, Egypt, Jordan, Georgia, Venezuela, Libya, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Cuba and Hong Kong.
Saudi Arabia imported $414.3 million USD of beef in 2018, equalling 93,697 tons.
The Frigosinú plant is certified in halal processing to meet muslim dietary requirements, and can process up to 17,000 cattle per month. The company has permits to export to the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Lebanon, Angola, The Congo, Vietnam, and Libya.
Santiago Turizo, general manager of Frigosinú, indicated that “this is a reward for the effort we have been making to meet all the technical requirements. It is also an opportunity to gain participation in a market as important as that of Saudi Arabia. The work with ProColombia and the other state entities has been positive, so much so that they have helped us to join with other companies to be able to meet the volume of exports demanded by some countries.”
Colombian diplomats indicate that they are currently working to certify Colombian beef exports into Kuwait, the European Union, Canada, Indonesia, the United States, China, Algeria & Singapore.
To date, Saudi beef imports have come from 23 national sources, led by Brazil (37%), India (26%) and Australia (18%). Most Saudi beef imports are frozen & boneless (41.9%) followed by refrigerated boneless (25.8%) and frozen cuts (14.1%).
Colombia has the 4th largest cattle herd in Latin America. “The geographical location of the country is privileged to allow feeding cattle to grass throughout the year, without the use of hormones or growth promoters, and respecting the natural cycle of development and fattening of the animal,” said Flavia Santoro, the president of ProColombia.
According to DANE data and analysis of the Ministry of Commerce, in 2018 frozen beef recorded US $ 49.2 million in exports, to destinations such as Russia, Vietnam and Hong Kong. While, last year, fresh or chilled beef reached US $ 18.9 million in international sales, mainly to Jordan, Lebanon and Russia.
In total, in 2018 beef exports were US $ 78.7 million, with a growth of 10.6%, compared to 2017. On the other hand, the variation measured in quantities (tons) registered a growth of 9.5 % between 2017 and 2018, with 19,500 tons. The cattle herd in Colombia is concentrated in the departments of: Antioquia (11.6%), Córdoba (8.6%), Casanare (8.1%), Meta (7.3%) and Santander (6.2% ), according to ICA figures