Bahrain plans to cut meat imports
Manama, January 29, 2011
Plans have been announced to set up a facility to produce 36,000 high-quality Arabian lambs a year for the Bahrain market.
A group of businessmen, led by Nass Corporation vice-chairman Samir Nass, have begun talks with the authorities to identify land and other infrastructure required.
"We intend to set up a facility to produce at least 3,000 head of Arabian lamb and target a niche category in the Bahraini market," he said.
"The idea is to try and reduce some dependence on imported meat. We are already looking at various options on land and water requirements and should be able to finalise something soon."
Nass said meetings with Industry and Commerce Ministry officials had been positive. Negotiations are also taking place with an Australian company which would collaborate in the project.
"While we will take their expertise and knowledge, we will use only Bahraini animal embryos so that we only produce top quality local Arabian meat," said Nass.
He added the businessmen had no intention to compete with Australian, Indian and Pakistani mutton already available in the market.
"We are looking at the upper middle class and upper class category who will buy the meat and those who value quality, even if the price is a little higher," said Nass. Instead, the lamb produced aims to complement the local lamb and sheep already available in the market.
"Bahrain currently imports between 95 and 97 per cent of its bread basket and a large portion of it is meat," he said. "With this initiative, we will try and reduce some dependence on imported meat."
Nass said the sheep produced would be available for sale in the open market.
"These will be sold to those who want them, much like it is now in the open market," he added. "We will not slaughter the animals but will supply these to butchers."
Bahrain imports around 700,000 sheep and cattle a year.
The plan for the new facility comes as Bahrain unveiled plans to stabilise food security, including relying on local production of strategic items and slash the deficit in food imports.
Efforts will also be stepped up to encourage agricultural investment and optimise the role of the private sector.
The government has also pledged to preserve natural resources for present and future generations and small farmers and give animal breeders aid to promote the quality of their products. – TradeArabia News Service