Nunzio Quraitem e a criação da exportação brasileira de frango – New York Times
Em 1975, o Brasil não exportava uma grama de frango. Nem sabia que podia fazer isso. Até aparecer o Nunzio Qustandi Rofa Quraitem. Um visionário, que trabalhava na Brascan, uma Trading Company canadense, estabelecida no Brasil. Em 1975, com sua visão, colocou-se a trabalhar no assunto, e realizou as primeiras exportações.
Em janeiro de 1977 criou a UNEF – União dos Exportadores de Frangos Ltda., um consórcio de exportação, congregando vários produtores/abatedouros pelo país. Até navios a UNEF teve, virando também armador. Em 1980 o Brasil já era o maior exportador de frangos do mundo. Posição que mantém ainda hoje. 2013 fechou com a exportação de 3,891 milhões de toneladas de frangos congelados, no valor de US$ 7,966 bilhões. Entramos nessa bela história em fevereiro de 1977.
Temos muito orgulho de termos feito parte da UNEF, trabalhado com o Nunzio, com quem mantemos contato até hoje, sendo seu amigo, interlocutor e consultor.
Nunzio, esta página é para você. Parabéns pelo belo trabalho que realizou para o Brasil, e ter tornado nossas empresas de frango o que são hoje. Pena o país ter esquecido o que fizemos, e quase ninguém mais ter conhecimento da UNEF, que ainda poderia ajudar muito o Brasil. Em especial, quando as pequenas empresas representam não mais que uns 2% das nossas exportações. Para criar consórcios, nossas autoridades vão buscar modelos no exterior, sendo que a melhor existiu aqui e ainda estamos aqui para falar dela.
Segue reportagem do New York Times, de 27/04/1981 sobre o Nunzio e a UNEF.
ORIGINATOR OF BRAZIL’S CHICKEN EXPORTS
By WARREN HOGE, Special to the New York Times
Published: April 27, 1981
SAO PAULO, Brazil— There seems to be something about the chicken business that breeds salesmen with a bent for showmanship. Brazil’s answer to Frank Perdue is Nunzio Quraitem, a fast-talking former organ technician in Middle Eastern Catholic cathedrals who struck his first deal by forging a telexed order from Iran for 5,000 tons of frozen poultry five years ago.
It was the beginning of an undertaking that in that short time has made Brazil the world’s largest exporter of chicken, with projected sales in 1981 of 260,000 tons, worth $390 million.
The ends of Mr. Quraitem’s endeavors have more than forestalled any questions of the means he used to achieve them. ”Fifty percent of Brazil’s chicken producers would be bankrupt today if it weren’t for what I did,” said Mr. Quraitem, a 42-year-old naturalized Brazilian, son of a Maltese father and an Italian mother.
Markets Found Abroad
With the domestic market severely depressed here, poultry producers have been saved by Mr. Quraitem’s idea that Brazilian birds could find lucrative markets abroad, particularly in the Middle East.
The idea was not easy to sell. In 1975 Brazil was producing nearly 500,000 tons of chicken meat a year, but producers did not believe their product would stand up to that of the principal exporters, France, the Netherlands, Hungary and the United States.
”I have lived in Kuwait, and I remembered that almost everything there had to be imported,” Mr. Quraitem said. ”I remembered too that people liked chicken there and everyone knew that their purchasing power was going up rapidly because of oil.”
A freelance trader who had peddled everything from Spanish textile machines to polypropylene, the chain-smoking Mr. Quraitem at the time was working with Brascan, the Canadian investment company, in Brazil. ‘They Laughed at Me’
”It’s in my nature to accept challenges,” he said. But the challenge he had in mind was not in the nature of either his bosses at Brascan or the chicken producers themselves.
”They laughed at me,” he said. ”They told me I was crazy. I couldn’t believe it, but I had to do something. so I faked the telex. I simply picked a number, 5,000, and put it down. I knew nothing about chickens and had no idea what 5,000 tons of it would add up to. But if you don’t show a little cheek sometimes, you never get anywhere.
”When I returned with the telex, they started listening to me. In two days, I had rounded up 72 producers in one room.” The men told Mr. Quraitem they thought that with effort they could come up with the birds. ”Then I got really frightened,” he said. ”My God, I thought, how am I going to sell these things?”
He convinced Brascan to give him a ticket to the Middle East on the agreement that if he failed to find buyers, he would pay for the trip. With 17 frozen chickens in a Styrofoam box, he set out on his journey.
At his first stop, Iran, he succeeded in having the Brazilian Ambassador’s wife cook one of his samples for the Iranian trade minister, but no deal was struck. In Iraq, Kuwait, Dubai, Muscat and Lebanon, he would go to local markets, buy German, Danish and Hungarian chickens and let guests compare their taste with his Brazilian broilers. He encountered satisfied diners every time, but no buyers. A Purchase in Dubai
After 22 days and 16 chickens, he and his remaining sample gave up and went to Britain. There his luck turned. A friend had a contact in Dubai who offered to purchase 25 tons.
Mr. Quraitem sped back to Brazil and spent the next two weeks badgering the Middle East manager of Lloyd Brasileiro, a state-owned shipping line.
”I would be in his office in the morning when he arrived, in the afernoon when he came back from lunch and in the evening when he left,” he said. ”Finally, just to get rid of me he agreed to take the 25 tons. In a 3,000-ton ship,” he added with a look of triumph, ”at a loss of $700,000.”
Exports that year were to total 3,469 tons, including 1,000 tons for Saudi Arabia and 500 for Kuwait. Over the subsequent years, the numbers climbed in huge increments, reaching 150,000 tons worth $258 million in 1980. Consortium Set Up
In 1977 Mr. Quraitem fashioned a desk from a door supported by two sawhorses and opened up the Union of Chicken Exporters, a consortium of broiler processors. The organization united the processes of supporting the overseas sales efforts, slaughtering and processing, crushing soybeans and grinding corn for rations, warehousing and distributing the product in boxes lettered in English and Arabic. The company has eight ships and accounts for 80 percent of Brazilian chicken exports.
”There is no limit in Brazil,” Mr. Quraitem said. ”It has the climate, the water, the corn and the soybeans.” Ninety-seven percent of the feed in Brazil comes from corn and soy, which accounts for a higher protein content and better taste than in many European birds that subsist more on fish meal.
Mr. Quratiem now works out of a modern Sao Paulo office with wooden chicken sculptures, a crowing rooster in the backyard and war roomstyle wall maps on which he discusses his upcoming theaters of operation. Looking for New Markets
He said he foresaw $1 billion in exports by 1985 because of new markets he is looking at in the Soviet Union, the Far East, Africa, Central America and the Caribbean. Brazil has sold 60,000 tons of chicken to the Russians alone since opening up trade with them in November.
In the Arab countries with which Brazil’s chicken producers do business, per capita consumption of chicken has risen to 48 pounds a year from 14 in the last few years, only seven pounds less than the average in the United States.
With the business prospects of Brazilian chicken apparently secure, Mr. Quraitem is now concentrating on using his product to help relieve hunger in the third world.
”It only takes 48 days from hatching, it is tasty and it has lots of protein,” he said. ”I think it is time that all chicken exporters in the world united. We now compete stupidly. We end up by feeding some of the richest countries in the world better than our own people. Together we should study markets with intelligence.”
Illustrations: Photo of Nunzio Quraltem