"Our targeted markets are Germany, Canada, France, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom" - FERA Portugal
Portugal is hoping to open new markets in Europe and across the world for the beef produced from 7 of autochthonous cattle breeds in the country. Benefiting from financial support from the EU to promote these breeds the National Federation of Autochthonous Breed Associations (FERA) is looking for opportunities to access markets that have a large population with Portuguese roots. It is already tested with Mirandesa beef, as Eng. Nuno Paulo - Representative of Cooperativa Agro-Pecuária Mirandesa (holder of the brand "Carne Mirandesa DOP") and Eng. Rui Dantas - President of the Board of Federação Nacional das Associações de Raças Autóctones told us in an interview for EuroMeatNews.com.
1. How many cattle head counts the national herd of indigenous breeds in Portugal and which one is the most representative for your country?
There are 15 indigenous breeds in Portugal with about 78,000 females, of which 77,919 are breeding. Of these 15 breeds, the Mertolenga breed is the most representative, with a total of 17,400 cattle heads.
Of the 7 breeds that are part of the project "Portuguese Beef" (Arouquesa, Barrosã, Cachena, Marinhoa, Maronesa, Minhota and Mirandesa), are about 33,000 females, the Barrosã breed is being the most representative with about 6,800 animals (2016 Data).
2. How many producers of indigenous breeds are in Portugal? Do they get financial support from the Portuguese government for rearing these animals?
The Producers in Portugal can apply for support of breeding indigenous breeds under the measure of support and maintenance of domestic biodiversity. Since 2015 there is no possibility to make new requests for support (new breeders) or increase the number of animals supported (for all breeders with an approved application in 2015).
3. What is the current production for these breeds and how much it represents from total beef production of Portugal?
Portugal produces 91,000 tons of beef, referring to the slaughter of 377,551 animals (2017 Data). In the year of 2012, were slaughtered 2,327 tons of PDO / PGI meat of indigenous breeds.
4. How many producers of indigenous breeds have managed by now to export Arouquesa, Barrosã, Cachena, Marinhoa, Maronesa, Minhota, and Mirandesa beef? What is the export volumes for these breeds and what potential they have to acquire a larger market share in the EU or other markets?
The producers are represented by the Cooperatives, hence the form of sale is always by the Producer Group and never individually. We can say that all the breeds have already exported beef, although only Mirandesa breed does it regularly.
The exporting volume is low, although the work and investment triggered at international levels are reflecting sales, meetings of interest, ie, stages of business development. Mirandesa has currently a quota of sales in the international market around 20%. There is a growth margin in the international market, not predicting a reference value.
5. What are the best selling parts abroad and in the domestic market?
The PDO Meat is valued by the prime cuts, hence the consumer has a natural appetite for those parts, regardless of the market in question. In this context, by the quality, we have been able to add value in the external market, due to the market demand. This possibility summarizes the potential for growth since the international market has purchasing power and does not achieve a qualitative level like ours.
6. What are the markets that you intend to open through the "Portuguese Beef" programme?
The "Portuguese Beef" project promotes seven Portuguese indigenous breeds from the North and Center of Portugal.
At the beginning of the project, they were identified as target markets, obviously without neglecting other opportunities that may arise, Germany, Canada, France, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom.
These markets were defined due to several factors, namely, the high presence of resident population with Portuguese descent; countries with a stable political context, high purchasing power and a strategic geographical position on the globe, leading to an easy conquest of other markets;
In addition, all markets allow the exploration of market niches, which are open to differentiating products, whether for quality, originality or price;
It should also be noted that the promotion of Portuguese autochthonous races in foreign markets was only possible due to the co-financing of the Operational Program for Competitiveness and Internationalization of Portugal 2020 (Compete 2020), within the framework of the System for Supporting Collective Actions (SIAC) of a total investment of EUR 426,637.00, co-financed by 85% by the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER), totaling EUR 362,641.45.
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