Saudi Arabia: South African meat producers to enter Saudi market after 21-year ban

News24 – Na’ilah Ebrahim

  • South African meat producers will be able to enter the Saudi Arabian market after a 21-year ban.
  • Veterinary and halaal certification have been cited as reasons for the lengthy ban for meat imports from South Africa.
  • The ban was lifted following an inspection by the Saudi Arabian Food and Drug Authority in June this year.

The Saudi Arabian government has lifted a 21-year ban on South African meat imports.

On Thursday, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SAFDA) said it would lift the ban that has been in place on meat and red meat imports since 2002 after it held successful inspections in South African abattoirs and feedlots in June.

The inspection ensured that meat products complied with Saudi Arabian market access protocols and halaal certification.

The South African Saudi Business Council (SASBC) co-chairperson, Stravos Nicolaou, told News24 issues relating to veterinary and halaal certification were the reasons behind the ban.

Nicolaou said, “We had certain halaal procedural issues that needed to be addressed. The ban first emanated 21 years ago after the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. The Department of Agriculture had to ensure veterinary certification was obtained to ensure that the ban was lifted as well.”

He added the SASBC welcomed the lifting of the ban and the opportunity for South African meat producers in a sizeable market.

Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel said South African meat producers are now allowed to participate in a huge, global halaal meat industry.

During a state visit in October last year, Patel and Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza met with Saudi Arabian Investment Minister Khalid Al Falih, and members of the South African meat industry.

A task team was formed to facilitate access for meat and red meat products from South Africa into Saudi Arabia.

During the visit, the governments signed 16 agreements worth more than R270 billion, including deals on renewable energy, industry, mining, tourism, and logistic sectors.