Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Tanzania in talks with Saudi over meat exports

By Gadiosa Lamtey

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania may soon start exporting meat to Saudi Arabia if ongoing negotiations between the two countries are concluded as hoped.

Tanzania used to export meat to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but this was suspended 19 years ago.

Tanzania’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ally Jabair, said there was a huge demand for meat in that market; but it was unfortunate that Tanzania was not allowed to export to that market due to a foot and mouth disease that broke out in the country several years ago.

“I have had a conversation with the Saudi Food and Drug Authority. Tomorrow, we will have talks with stakeholders in that country and we strongly believe we can once again start exporting Tanzanian meat to that country,” he said.

Mr Jabir was speaking via Zoom at the Business to Business (B2B) meeting that was organised by the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (Tantrade) at the ongoing 45th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF). Noting that there is a high demand for meat in Saudi Arabia, he said a number of investors had shown interest in buying the product from Tanzania.

“What is needed now is for exporters from Tanzania to make sure they adhere to the required standards, including obtaining a Halal Meat Certificate. This is a requirement for anyone wanting to export meat to an Arabic country,” he said.

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The acting Product Development Manager at Tantrade, Masha Hussein, said the B2B meeting sought to articulate the requirements for Tanzania to export meat to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Oman.

She said Tanzania was only exporting in small quantities to Arabic countries due to challenges associated with the acquisition of Halal Meat Certificates.

Currently, she said, Tanzania has only two slaughter houses in Dodoma and Mwanza which meet the Halal Meat requirements.

“We conduct this meeting with local exporters to explain to them what is needed for them to enter into these markets,” she said – noting that labelling was one of the most important aspects that buyers in the Arab world would want to see on any product.

Although Tanzania was one of the leading countries in animal population terms in Africa, the country was lagging behind Kenya, Egypt and Somalia in as far as exporting meat to the Arabic markets is concerned.

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