Government to expand sources for imported meat

The Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation has concluded a new plan aiming to diversify sources for imported livestock and meat in a bid to offset rising demand and surging local prices. Senior sources at the ministry noted that the scheme targets monopolies on imports, something they call the “meat mafia."

Minister Amin Abaza said that the state wants to encourage competition among importers and secure fair prices for consumers by expanding the supply of meat. He added that the new plan would also provide credit so that local breeders could increase production. Abaza said in a statement yesterday that the state is against the monopoly on meat imports, stressing that the government has already put new mechanisms in place to control the market and oversee quality.

The Head of the Central Authority for Veterinary Quarantine, Mohamed Naguib, noted an increase in the amount of imported livestock during 2010, when Egypt imported more than 65,000 cows and 200,000 camels.

Naguib added that slaughterhouses in Nubariya and Ain Sukhna will be renovated in order to meet international standards and get accreditation by Australian exporters.

According to Naguib, 15,000 Ethiopian cattle are being imported for sale during Ramadan with the aim to keep prices low. He added that standards and measures are being set for importing oxen from the US and EU, in coordination with international organizations concerned with animal health. Naguib said that once the importing is approved by the ministry of agriculture, the imported cattle will be held for a month in quarantine at ports in order to verify that they are free of infection. They will then be transported to farms, where they will await slaughtering under the supervision of medical authorities.

The quarantine department set conditions for imports from the US and Europe, including a stipulation that the age group of the imported cattle should be maximum 2.5 years in order to suit the taste of Egyptian consumers.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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