Following MLA's latest announcement in 2013 beef shipments to Saudi Arabia leapt to nearly 60,000 t.
About 170,000 t of Australian red meat went into the Middle East in 2013, representing about AUS$780 mill. of business for Australia's red meat industries. Record lamb shipments, and record beef shipments into Saudi Arabia, have contributed to stellar growth in the region, MLA's Middle East/North Africa regional manager Jamie Ferguson reports.
The market is transforming, too: after 35 years of preferring live exports, Middle Eastern consumers are turning to boxed meat and higher value products, like Wagyu and organic meat. Further growth should be possible, Mr. Ferguson said, although not without work.
Beef shipments to Saudi Arabia leapt 107% in 2013, to nearly 60,000 t, but the feat was performed in the absence of the United States and Brazil. Beef imports from both nations were banned in 2012 over BSE concerns.
Mr. Ferguson said it is likely Brazil will be re-admitted to the market in 2014 the question remains as to how much of its former share of the retail beef market, about 30,000 t, it will reclaim from Australia. He believes that Australia may only lose about 15% of its current share. Australia has difficulty competing with Brazil in price-driven manufacturing beef.
Record lamb shipments went into the Middle East in the last fiscal year, and that looks likely to be bested by 15% in this calendar year. That is partly due to a sleight of hand, in which Bahrain replaced shipments of live sheep from Australia with shipments of boxed sheep meat.
Exports to Bahrain were suspended in August 2012, when the country turned away a boatload of 21,000 sheep because of scabby mouth, violating an agreement. The sheep were later inhumanely slaughtered in Pakistan, and exports to both countries were cancelled.
Source: Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)