Kenya: Arab Buyer Says Local Meat Expensive in Dubai

A MAJOR importer of meat and its products from Kenya, Blue Mountain Food Trading, has warned that Kenya may lose market in the United Arab Emirates because its products are expensive.

The company’s chairman, Khalifa Suhel Al Safini, yesterday said he is worried that Kenyan meat prices in UAE are higher than those from its competitors.

Safini, who is on a business trip to Kenya, said meat business in Dubai is “competitive” and therefore he has issues with the high prices for Kenyan exports. He said while the Kenyan products are rated above international required standards, the country may lose out on the prices of its exports. The Blue Mountain’s chairman spoke at the Kenya Meat Commission in Athi River. He was accompanied by the Director of Global Foods LLC, Hamdan Bin Saeed, who has also shown interest for trading with Kenya.

Already Blue Mountain Food Trading has entered into a one-year contract with KMC to buy 15.5 tonnes of meat everyday. The Dubai-based company is importing goat and sheep meat along with tender meat from calves. The Arab traders were taken around the East African Portland farm that holds about 3,000 herds of cattle ready for slaughter.

KMC chairman Abdi Adan Suleiman said the investors are in Kenya as a follow-up of President Kibaki’s visit to UAE last year Kibaki had invited individuals and companies to come to Kenya. Livestock Development minister Mohammed Kuti said the recent opening of Arab market for Kenyan meat is a big challenge to the government and livestock farmers.

Speaking recently in Athi River, he said KMC is now exporting 25,000 metric tonnes of meat and its products daily to Arab countries against a daily demand of 100,000 tonnes. KMC currently exports meat to the Gulf and United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iraq. He said the government will build satellite plants in seven regions of Kenya to raise its production to meet huge demand for beef and mutton in the Arab world. He said the livestock sector contributes about 10 per cent of Kenya’s GDP and is the main source of livelihood for the people in the Arid and Semi-Arid lands (ASAL).