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Kazakh meat set for Bahrain’s local markets

MANAMA, September 19, 2014

Kazakh mutton could soon be set to appear in Bahrain's meat markets if a fact-finding mission sent to the central Asian country gives the trade its blessing.

At present, the majority of Bahrain's live sheep imports come from Australia, which local meat importers say is unlikely to change, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

But following a visit to Kazakhstan in April by His Majesty King Hamad at the invitation of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, a delegation from the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry was sent to the country to investigate the logistics of starting up a trade in meat.

"We are seeing the possibility of getting chilled meat from there now," Bahrain Livestock Company (BLC) chairman Ebrahim Zainal told the GDN.

"There doesn't seem to be any possibility for live imports because there is no transport option and it is too expensive to fly livestock in.

"So we are looking at chilled, not frozen, meat - but nothing has been decided yet as we still have to see if we can get a good price and we have to study the logistics."

In addition to Australia, Bahrain currently imports chilled meat from Pakistan, Sudan, Ethiopia and India.

Although the supply is plentiful, the BLC is always looking to diversify its import portfolio - but it has yet to hear back from the ministry's fact-finding team on whether Kazakh meat would be suitable for the Bahraini market, Zainal said.

"There are no direct flights between Bahrain and Kazakhstan and chilled meat has to be consumed five to six days after slaughter, so if we can't figure out the logistics then we might not get it from there," he said.

"Also meat is a buyers' market, so we will have to view the customer feedback to see how desirable Kazakh meat is to locals - if they don't like it then we won't bring it in."

Kazakhstan's national agricultural holding company KazAgro was quoted in a report published yesterday on the Times of Central Asia news website announcing that Bahrain had already been established as an export destination.

"KazAgro has established a new export destination for Kazakh sheep breeders," it said in a statement.

"It is planned that this year the first batch of mutton from the Almaty and Zhambyl provinces will be shipped to Bahrain."

According to the company, a Bahraini delegation of experts had "emphasised the ecologically perfect conditions for keeping and feeding" livestock in Kazakhstan and "gave the highest estimation of the taste of Kazakh mutton."

When contacted by the GDN, the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry said that it was too early to confirm whether Bahrain would begin meat imports from Kazakhstan as their delegation only returned from the country on Wednesday. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Meat | market | Local | kazakh |

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