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First Australian Sheep Shipment In 12 Years Docks In Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has welcomed its first shipment of sheep from Australia in over 12 years, marking a significant development for meat supply during the Ramadan season, as reported by a trade unionist.

Sulaiman Al Jabri, former head of the Livestock Committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce, confirmed that the vessel transported 25,000 sheep to the port city.

The arrival of the Australian sheep has had a stabilizing effect on meat prices in the Saudi market at the beginning of Ramadan, with anticipation for more shipments in the coming weeks leading up to the Hajj pilgrimage scheduled for June.

Al Jabri, as cited by the Saudi news portal Sabq, stated, “The period ahead will witness receiving more shipments to meet the increasing demand for red meat and cover all needs of consumers among citizens, expatriate residents, and pilgrims coming to the Holy Capital (Mecca) these days to spend the holy month of Ramadan at the Grand Mosque.”

He further expressed expectations for meat prices to remain stable in the upcoming days, attributing this to governmental efforts to address local demands and diversify import sources.

“The return to importation from Australia is part of the Saudi government’s commitment to ensuring food sufficiency,” Al Jabri emphasized.

Another shipment of approximately 25,000 Australian sheep is anticipated to arrive in the kingdom by the conclusion of Ramadan, according to Al Jabri.

The Saudi Ministry of Agriculture revealed that the kingdom has imported 1.7 million heads of cattle in the past two months, driven by heightened demand during Ramadan and the forthcoming Hajj season.

Ramadan, which commenced in the kingdom on Monday, typically entails large family gatherings for the iftar meal after day-long fasting.

In light of expected increased imports, the ministry disclosed ongoing coordination efforts with relevant agencies to secure necessary quantities of healthy livestock during the season.

Livestock imports, the ministry clarified, originate from Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, South Africa, Bahrain, Oman, Georgia, Romania, Bulgaria, Australia, and Brazil. Additionally, imports have recently resumed from the UAE, Qatar, and Jordan. Health regulations and import protocols are regularly updated in accordance with the epidemiological status of exporting countries to ensure the safety of imported livestock.

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