Bahrain ‘may open up meat market’
Manama, January 27, 2013
Bahrain is studying plans to open up its meat market in an attempt to prevent shortages of supply, said a top government official.
The Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry has been ordered to prepare a report on the practicalities of introducing new importers, said a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
"We are currently looking at the meat issue locally," confirmed the ministry's agriculture, livestock and fisheries under-secretary Shaikh Khalifa bin Isa Al Khalifa.
"As of now the main importer for red meat is Bahrain Livestock Company (BLC). Currently we are trying to bring in another company to introduce their products in Bahrain."
Shaikh Khalifa said increased competition would help improve the quality of products supplied by the BLC.
"We want to create competition in the market place and in the future we are trying to open up the market completely," he said.
"With an open market everyone can supply meat instead of just giving the job to the Bahrain Livestock Company. We will open up the market and the people can decide which kind of meat they want to eat."
Shaikh Khalifa also revealed plans to set up another chicken factory and said the project would be put out to tender shortly.
Bahrain has been hit by a series of meat shortages since last August when it turned away a shipment of 21,000 live sheep that led to imports from Australia being halted.
The country, which consumes around 5,800 tonnes of red meat a year, has turned increasingly to Somali meat in a bid to boost supplies, but changing suppliers has reportedly cost the government an extra BD1 million ($2.619 million) a month.
It has already assigned BD67 million for government subsidies on meat, poultry and flour this year, up from BD56 million in 2011.
Another BD67 million has also been earmarked to continue the subsidies next year.
BLC chairman Ibrahim Zainal was unaware of plans for a new company to enter the market and said it was too early to comment on the effect it would have on the company. – TradeArabia News Service