Colombia’s first 25 tons of beef to be exported to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

  • These first tons will be exported by Athena Foods’ industrial plant, Red Cárnica, in Ciénaga de Oro, Córdoba.
  • This is the result of the coordinated work between the government and the private company.
  • The beef comes from buildings in Córdoba and the north of Antioquia.
  • In 2019, we managed to open up 11 international markets.

Bogotá, December 10, 2019. Next week, Colombia will export its first 25 tons out of the first 200 tons of beef intended for King Abdullah Port, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as a result of the health diplomacy led by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Andrés Valencia Pinzón, in accordance with the health requirements established by both countries and after the coordinated work between INVIMA and the private company.
The beef, which will leave the port of Cartagena, mostly comes from  buildings in Córdoba and the north of Antioquia and meet the health requirements for cooling established by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Some of the health requirements established by the country of destination are: general requirements for the transportation and storage of the frozen product, the code of hygiene practice for the preparation, transportation, handling and storage of fresh beef.
Likewise, the document sent to Colombia (to ICA) informs the microbiological criteria for food, the maximum limits for residues of veterinary medicinal products in food, as well as the relation of the extraction plants from which the product may be sent.
Among the attendees were Julio César Aldana, INVIMA’s director; Yeili Rangel, advisor to the Trade Relations Division of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism; Pedro Miguel González, technical manager of ICA’s Animal Quarantine and employees and directors of the plant.
“The coordinated work between the public and private sectors is what enables us to deliver this type of effective result to Colombian livestock farmers and the national economy. The national agricultural sector is ready to enter global markets”, highlighted Deyanira Barrero León, ICA’s general manager.
On the other hand, INVIMA’s general director, Julio Cesar Aldana, said: “Our beef being in compliance with health requirements is a great accomplishment for the health diplomacy established by President Iván Duque Márquez. This reflects the government institutions that have been working on this process and creating a strong team with the private sector. Their effort and social and health responsibility enabled us to be here, ready to export 25 tons of beef to the port in Cartagena and, later, to the Saudi Arabia.
Leandro Protzen, COO of Athena Foods Colombia, said: “We are very happy with this first shipment to Saudi Arabia. We have been working with the government, authorities from the sector, cattle producers and other beef companies to be able to enter the big international market. Today, we sent more than one container filled with the best Colombian beef from our plant in Ciénaga de Oro. We also sent a message to the world and our sector, reminding them of the unlimited capability and potential we have when we work together with the same purpose.”
To get this acceptance, Colombia speeded up a work that had been carried out with the National Institute of Medicine and Food Surveillance (INVIMA) since 2016, when we received a document from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia including information to anyone interested in exporting beef. Attached to the document was a technical questionnaire that would be used by them to know the information and processes of national beef production.
In 2017, ICA and INVIMA responded the request and received a visit from a delegation of officials from the Kingdom’s Health Authority. This visit helped us get answers to our questions and understand some aspects so that, in March 2019, we could send a template of an Export Health Certificate (EHC), thus getting our Colombian beef accepted.
As Colombia’s Health Authority, ICA will keep working on the opening up of the markets, the acceptance of our agricultural products, as well as their salubrity, to contribute to the creation of an area of equity.