In a sort of good news for Indian food suppliers across the globe, the country has surpassed Brazil in food exports to the League of Arab States for the first time in 15 years after the covid-19 pandemic disrupted trade flows in 2020.
According to the latest data provided by the Arab-Brazil Chamber of Commerce, while Brazil accounted for 8.15% of the total agribusiness products imported by the 22 League members last year, India captured 8.25% of that trade, ending Brazil’s 15-year advantage.
Despite remaining competitive “from the farm gate in,” Brazil lost ground to India and other exporters such as Turkey, the United States, France, and Argentina amid a disruption of traditional shipping routes.
The Arab world is among Brazil’s most important trade partners, but its distance from those markets took its toll as the pandemic rattled global logistics.
Brazilian shipments to Saudi Arabia that once took 30 days could now take up to 60 days, according to the Chamber, whereas India’s geographic advantages allow it to ship fruits, vegetables, sugar, grains, and meat in as little as a week.
Brazil’s agricultural exports to the Arab League rose just 1.4% by value to $8.17 billion last year. Between January and October this year, sales totaled $6.78 billion, up 5.5%, as logistics problems subsided, Chamber data showed.
China’s push to boost its own food inventories during the pandemic also diverted some of Brazil’s trade with the Arabs, leading countries such as Saudi Arabia to step up the promotion of domestic food production while seeking alternative suppliers.
“It’s a turning point. The Saudis are still big buyers, but they are also net re-exporters of food,” the Chamber said in a statement.