The Middle East established itself as Australia’s largest lamb export destination in 2010, surpassing the US, with shipments increasing 2% on the previous year, to a record 36,670 tonnes according to figures released by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries – DAFF in Australia.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region received 38,151 tonnes of Australian lamb in 2010 – 24.5% of total exports for the year and just shy of the record 39,119 tonnes set in 2009. While robust consumer demand and strong economic growth assisted the rise in shipments to the Middle East in 2010, the increased price for lamb and the strong Australian dollar impacted exports to many of the more price-sensitive North African markets.
Commenting on this sustained growth, Mr. Lachlan Bowtell, Regional Manager, Meat & Livestock Australia, Middle East & Africa, said: “we pride ourselves for having constantly supplied the ME markets with high quality, safe halal meat products for over 30 years now with year on year growth. We kept the momentum in 2010 despite the floods that have hit large areas in Australia towards the end of the year”.
“This is a clear indication of Australian meat industry’s commitment towards this region where our meat products have become a key component of the local lifestyles and an essential ingredient in the daily food intake of families and menus of the sophisticated regional food industry”, added Mr. Bowtell.
The top three destinations for Australian lamb within MENA during 2010 were the United Arab Emirates (13,194 tonnes), Jordan (8,361 tonnes) and Iran, which emerged from taking no Australian product in 2009, to 7,527 tonnes for 2010. Of the 38,151 tonnes of lamb sent to the MENA region in 2010, the top three cuts were carcases (37%), legs (18%) and shoulders (14%).
MLA, which has overseen the leadership of Australian meat products and livestock in the region for over 30 years has also consistently worked with food safety government authorities in the region to share knowledge of Australia’s most rigorous safety rules and procedures for meat production and ensure the efficiency of local systems.
“We pride ourselves on not cutting corners and maintaining stringent controls on our food safety and halal systems that are the envy of many other meat producing countries that export to this region, we lead the way in this area and will not compromise our world leading position, that’s why we have been so successful in the UAE and the broader Middle East region”, Mr Bowtell added.