Oz farmers tap halal markets

Retailers across the GCC are increasingly looking to Australia as a source of halal meat.

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By  Roger Field Published  April 5, 2006

Retailers and distributors of halal meat in the GCC are increasingly turning to Australian meat producers for their products. Indeed, the region now accounts for some 5% of Australia’s total red meat exports of 2.5 million tones, and the majority of its halal meat sales. “This [the GCC] is probably our third largest market for sheep meat in the world,” said Ian Ross, regional manager, Middle East and Africa for Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd, a company that promotes the interests of Australian farmers. “We’re looking at something like about US $260 million a year.” Ross added that halal meat exports from Australia are possibly growing more rapidly than mainstream meat. “There would be a direct correlation between the two because there is growth in all markets in the Middle East. Last year lamb increased 35% over the previous year, mutton by about 26%,” he said. Part of the reason for Australia’s success in this market is its strict accreditation scheme for halal products, which is recognised by Muslim countries around the world. Halal meat from Australia is produced from animals slaughtered by one of several licensed halal supervisors. These supervisors, who are appointed by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, ensure that slaughters are in accordance with the Islamic Shariah, allowing the meat to be certified as genuinely halal. Furthermore, Ross is confident that this growth in exports will continue. “We’re also seeing remarkable growth of our meat into the high level food service, particularly in Dubai,” he said. “This tends to be low volumes of higher prices meat. We’re certainly seeing quite phenomenal growth in high quality beef, and we know the market for that is high-end hotels.”

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