Australia-Bahrain livestock trade to resume soon
Manama, February 13, 2014
Livestock trade between Australia and Bahrain is likely to resume within two months, it has emerged.
Butchers have not received any live sheep for the last five days, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It is the latest in a series of meat shortages that has hit Bahrain since August 2012 when it turned away 21,000 Australian sheep due to health concerns.
It has been almost one-and-a-half years since Bahrain has imported live sheep from Down Under, but a source within the Australian meat industry is optimistic that trade will resume soon.
"We agree with Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce's statement that trade will resume soon within the coming couple of months," the source said.
Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi last week told MPs Bahrain would be willing to resume trade if Australia would agree to send Bahrain younger sheep.
The source said the age of sheep coming into the country was not a governmental issue but a commercial one.
"There are no barriers with age, the issue is a commercial one," he said.
"If Bahrain wants younger livestock there is nothing stopping them from ordering that from the suppliers.
"Of course it is price dependent - if they want lamb (approximately 12 months old) then they can order it and depending on quantity available it will be sold.
"If there is a shortage then that will drive the price up too."
Bahrain could save millions of dinars if it resumes trade with Australia.
The average yield is 10kg of meat from a Somali sheep and 20kg from an Australian sheep, which means Bahrain pays around $18 per kg for Somali livestock, compared to $10.3 per kg for Australian imports.
A spokesman for the office of Australia's Agriculture Minister said this week he was "determined to see a resumption of trade with Bahrain and Iran in the coming months".
The source said Bahrain's livestock imports were vital to Australia as they amount to around 350,000 sheep a year.
The Middle East accounts for around 99 per cent of live lamb and sheep exports from Australia. - TradeArabia News Service