Cassava flour is one of the foundations of the Brazilian diet. The ingredient is used in a variety of recipes, including the famous “farofa.” Cassava is a tuber native to Brazil, consumed in several different ways: fried, boiled, and pureed, as well as a key ingredient in many other recipes, such as pão de queijo (cheese bread).
More recently, cassava has also shown its relevance in the international market. In July, the farmers’ cooperative COOFAMA, from the Sergipe state in northeastern Brazil, carried out its first shipment to the United States, just after receiving health certification from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The cooperative’s presence in the United States acknowledges the tradition and quality of the flour produced in the Brazilian northeast region. The commercial strategy focuses on placing the product in a competitive market, targeting sales opportunities for the Brazilian public living abroad who miss the ingredient daily.
COOFAMA has 40 farmers as members. The group has already won awards for its viable socio-economic and environmental indicators. In Brazil, the cooperative is known for developing productive practices in its processing units, giving real priority to defending the caatinga biome.
The farmers’ work yields 40 tons of cassava flour per month. The work is performed in a facility with a storage shed, a garage, farm machinery, and a processing center that produces not only cassava flour but also other value-added products such as tapioca, cakes, pies, and cookies.
The path to export
COOFAMA had the support of the Agro.BR project to carry out its first exports. The initiative of the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA) in partnership with the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (ApexBrasil) supports rural entrepreneurs of all sizes on the path to export. The goal is to diversify and expand Brazil’s export portfolio.
COOFAMA joined the project in October 2022, receiving internationalization consultancy to export cassava flour. The training involved themes such as price formation, documentation, export procedures, and portfolio development.
The goal now is to prospect new markets through commercial promotion actions and in-depth research into potential buyers. To this end, the farmers are counting on the support of the Sergipe State Government and other local institutions.