Sheep imports set to resume in Bahrain
Manama, February 26, 2014
Bahrain will soon receive its first consignment of Australian sheep after being frozen out for nearly 20 months.
The country has been hit with a series of meat shortages since August 2012 when it turned away 21,000 Australian sheep due to health concerns, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
A delegation will be sent Down Under next month to oversee the shipment, said Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi.
"We are very close to getting Australian meat back in Bahrain," he told the GDN.
"We are going to be sending our team of vets hopefully within two weeks, but it depends on the date of importation from the company.
"Our vet will go for the final inspection before loading the sheep."
He said the deal signed between both countries in connection with the shipment includes several new criteria.
"Other formalities and requirements have been met and agreed to by Australia," he added.
"One of the main requirements met was to have sheep of a younger age, which has been agreed to, so Bahrain will have better meat than before."
Bahrain could save millions of dinars if it resumes trade with Australia.
The GDN earlier reported that 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.
Bahrain's livestock imports were vital to Australia as they amount to around 350,000 sheep a year which is about 17.5 per cent of all live exports to the Middle East.
Australia exports between two and two-and-a-half million sheep a year to the Middle East which account for around 99 per cent of live sheep exports.
The GDN reported in December that an inquiry was launched after a Saudi livestock importer complained that a shipment of 40,000 sheep destined for Bahrain had been stalled.
He claimed he was being asked to pay over the odds to quarantine the animals in Djibouti, and was forced to use a more expensive quarantine facility in Somalia if he wanted to import to Bahrain. - TradeArabia News Service