Brasilia. In order to boost export activity, the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (ApexBrasil) and the Euvaldo Lodi Institute (IEL) launched a new cycle of the Export Qualification Program (PEIEX), which will train people to export 50 large and small companies from different sectors in the municipality of Luis Eduardo Magalhães, State of Bahia.
These companies are part of a total of 375 companies that will be served by the program in both the state of Bahia and Sergipe, with personalized service as required by the states. The core of Luis Eduardo Magalhain was launched last Wednesday (4) in the area. The agreement is for two years and will serve entrepreneurs in the cities of Barreiras, Barra, Bom Jesus da Lapa, Correntina and Ibotirama, among others.
Luis Eduardo Magalhães is an important agribusiness center for the state and the entire country. To get an idea of the importance of this area, in 2021, out of the $9.48 billion exported throughout the state of Bahia, the municipality accounted for $1.48 billion, about 15% of the state’s total. With investments and improvements in technology, management and logistics made by entrepreneurs and manufacturers in the region, this value is on the rise.
According to Marco Antonio Cordeiro Ferreira, IEL and PEIEX business coordinator for the western region of Bahia, the program has a lot to offer, despite the large volume of exports that some local companies already have.
“Most of the region’s international sales come from the agro-industrial complex, 99%. But they are produced through trading, that is, manufacturers sell to a company that will sell products in foreign markets. Our goal is for companies here to establish commercial relationships directly with international buyers, and also to support those who are not yet exporters and want to start their internationalization,” he commented.
Cotton, banana and cocoa
The Schmidt Group is an example of how PEIEX can help local companies, even those that already have an international culture. The group is one of the largest producers in the municipality with several farms growing and exporting soybeans and cotton, bananas and cocoa. But, as is the case with other manufacturers, they sold their products to large international merchants, traders, at prices that were not so profitable. After participating in the first PEIEX cycle for the region, which ran from 2019 to 2021, the company has taken the necessary steps to be able to sell cotton directly to buyers in Asia, increasing the value of negotiations exponentially.
At that time, the company also decided to diversify production, starting to invest in the fruit market, in particular, in the cultivation of bananas and cocoa. Currently, about 10 million tons of bananas are produced per year, which are supplied to the national market and are already exported to Argentina. In addition, this year the fruit processing center received the Global Gap label, which is one of the requirements for exporting to the European Union.
According to Moises Schmidt, co-owner of the group, PEIEX and ApexBrasil play an important role for producers in the region. “We need a lot of help to sell our products abroad, and the demand for agribusiness is growing. We have social and environmental qualifications, we are associated with several organizations in the sector, we grow and invest together, and this is what makes agribusiness strong,” he said.
The Cacau do Cerrado brand is another initiative of the group, which began with the quality control of fruits obtained from a new technology for the reproduction of cocoa trees, which the group is developing in the Bio Brasil nursery. Plants are typically grown in the shade, but the group has developed seedlings that can grow in full sun and bear fruit for two years, while the average harvest time for this type of crop is 3 to 4 years.
The results began timidly, but acquired relevance. In 2021, the brand’s 65% chocolate bar was classified by the Cocoa Innovation Center (CIC) as one of the best ever tested.
During the launch ceremony of the new PEIEX cycle, Cerrado’s first-hand honey cocoa, which is made from crushed fruit juice, as well as chocolate bars and grains, was demonstrated. According to Sinuhe Quadros, the group’s manager, PEIEX was a turning point as it helped them in several aspects, even changing the label and logo.
In February this year, with the support of ApexBrasil, the company became the only Brazilian cocoa and chocolate company to participate in Gulfood, the largest food fair in the Middle East, and already has proposals to export its products to Dubai. International sales are expected to begin in the second half of the year.
Such success and scale of the group’s production require flexible and efficient management. This is where FIBOO comes in, an agricultural technology that grew under the auspices of Schmidt companies and farms. With an administrative headquarters in Brasilia and an operating room in Barreiras, the startup has developed an impressive monitoring system. The platform combines manufacturing intelligence, logistics, and advanced technology to improve the efficiency of banana, cocoa, and papaya cultivation, and the industry is now also being tested. According to the company’s CEO Thiago Tosi, the developed system is highly customizable, which allows manufacturers to have access to various functions, such as tracking, operational management, and standardization of the production process.
“By applying all these tools, the company will ultimately reduce costs, reduce losses and increase profitability and productivity,” he commented. Schmidt Farms uses the platform to plan each employee’s activities and performance, monitor crops, and provide reports to help make quick and efficient decisions, among other benefits.
outside of agro
While agribusiness is a force in the region, PEIEX technicians are also working to attract companies from other sectors. According to the curator of the Program Silvia Dayube, the intention is to promote a wide variety of fields such as food and drink, animal feed, machinery and equipment, fashion, stones, metallurgy and metal products, cosmetics and service companies such as industrial paint. . “The region is very rich and has a lot to offer and expand, so we are focusing on all companies that have the potential and desire to export,” he concluded.
Studio Capelli is an example of the many sectors that can benefit from the qualification. The beauty salon is located in Barreiras and has found a promising niche: the production of natural hair extensions. According to owner Tamires Dourado, the demand for Brazilian hair is high because of the quality of the strands. And she saw the PEIEX qualification as an opportunity to increase self-esteem and well-being not only for women in Brazil, but also in other countries. The hair is processed, dyed individually according to the needs of the client and prepared for extensions with glue.
“We reach out to women who want to change and improve their self-esteem, with thicker or longer hair, and also serve those who have had health problems that have resulted in less or less hair,” he explained.
Clarissa Furtado, ApexBrasil Competitiveness Manager, believes that the purpose of the Agency’s actions is precisely to “acquaint the world with the characteristics of Brazil and draw the attention of other countries to the potential of Brazilian businessmen and entrepreneurs.” We have sophisticated products and services that are very competitive in any market.”
The figures show the relevance of the results achieved by ApexBrasil: 74% of the companies that received support increased their exports, while 65% exported to new destinations and 58% innovated their export program. In 2021, ApexBrasil supported companies that account for 46.2% of Brazilian exports with a total value of US$129.4 billion.
Another industry that has seen an opportunity to boost sales and export its products is Jenc, which makes stretch kits and crop sprayers. Thanks to the ingenuity and experience of its technicians, the company has been able to design metal extensions up to 60 meters long to attach to sprayers with greater durability and at a much lower cost than the competition. For this, a very high-quality aluminum alloy is used, which is used in automobile engines and practically does not lose its characteristics and flexibility when heated in a weld (which happens with other alloys of this metal). Manufacturers in Paraguay purchased their products through intermediaries, and the company understood that the country was a potential market for their products. “Our goal is to help improve crop yields,” said production manager Josémar Gomes Pessoa.
As elsewhere, the PEIEX core of Luis Eduardo Magalhães enjoys the support of an Advisory Committee that includes some of the state and region’s major institutions with the aim of providing specific assistance at any stage of the export process. . . .
The initiative includes the Municipalities of Luis Eduardo Magalhães and Barreiras, the Brazilian Cotton Growers Association (Abapa), the Association of Bahian Farmers and Irrigators (Aiba), the Federation of Industries of the State of Bahia (FIEB), Cesi, Senai, Cebrae, the Federal University of Western Bahia, the Union of Rural Producers of Barreiras and Luis Eduardo Magalhães, Agricultural Technology Accelerator Cyklo, Banco do Brasil, Correios, Bahia International Business Center Network (CIN), National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (INMETRO) and National Institute of Intellectual Property (INPI).
According to ApexBrasil