The ExpoInter Show held 25th August to 2nd September 2018 in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul in SE Brazil continued the UK’s focus on promoting its agriculture sector to Latin America as part of the ‘Britain is GREAT’ campaign.
With over 2,000 exhibitors and some 400,000 visitors, the 41st edition of ExpoInter gathered together the major cattle and sheep breeds, veterinary products and technologies, government, academia and research institutes, machinery and equipment together with farmers and farming cooperatives.
A vast and impressive show, ExpoInter reflects the important part agriculture plays within the life and economy of Brazil whose farming sector accounts for around 45% of the country's total exports and makes up approximately 6% of GDP. Brazil comprises some 210 million cattle of which around 20-25 million are dairy. Sheep and goats number 26 million with 39 million pigs and 1.2 billion poultry.
With the support of a commercially focused and well-organised team from the Department of International Trade (DIT), progress was made towards securing future livestock and genetics export business for the UK to capitalise not only on the demand for British-bred breeding stock but on the favourable Export Health Certificate (EHC) conditions to reinforce the work of the UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP).
Meetings were held with ARCO (Brazil's National Sheep Association), MAPA (their Defra), EMBRAPA (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation - part of their Ministry) as well as FARSUL/SENAR/Casa Rural which make up the Agriculture Federation for rural development in the Rio Grande do Sul region. The group also met with Fabio Schuler of the Brazilian Aberdeen Angus Association.
It should be noted that this particular part of Brazil, which lies not far from Uruguay, favours British cattle and sheep breeds which adapt well to its relatively cooler temperate climate and fit into an extensive grazing system and forage-based diet. Despite the influence of N American genetics, there is good demand for UK stock.
On the ovine side, there was strong interest for British sheep with particular focus on Hampshires, Suffolks, Romneys as well as British Texels.
Following a useful Sheep Breeders Round Table, further visits were made to the sheep lines with discussions culminating in a commitment for at least one group of Brazilian farmers to visit the UK next Spring/Summer to select rams for semen collection.
From a cattle perspective, the main breed focus is on Angus, Hereford and North Devon with some interest in Charolais, Limousin and Wagyu.
Bos indicus type cattle such as Nelore and Brahman play a significant role both as purebreds and for crossbreeding for hybrid vigour, climate adaptability as well as disease and parasite (especially ticks) resistance.
Attending the Show was Ruth Perry who runs a pedigree Aberdeen Angus Herd numbering 20 cows near Reading which produces bulls for the suckler herd she also manages. Comprising 500 breeding cows, the Kent-based suckler herd supplies Angus-sired animals to Dovecote Park.
Ruth, 24, is spending six months in South America working on farms and has been helped with some financial support from the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society by dint of her winning an Angus Youth scholarship.
Whilst in Argentina, the Angus herd she was working for picked up Reserve Grand Champion at Palermo Show. Ruth then spent some time with a Hereford Estancia in Uruguay before coming to ExpoInter and will now head back to Uruguay to help ex-pat Ross Houghton show his Angus at Prado Show. Within ExpoInter, she was able to talk to the Brazilian Angus Youth Forum about her experiences as well as expound the attributes of UK-bred Angus.
Grateful thanks are extended to the Department of International Trade for putting together a comprehensive and stimulating programme as well as to all those who looked after the UK delegation so hospitably.