Russia and Ukraine target Halal poultry market

By Caroline SCOTT-THOMAS contact

- Last updated on GMT

Ukraine was already a major exporter of halal poultry with 43% of its production going to majority Muslim countries
Ukraine was already a major exporter of halal poultry with 43% of its production going to majority Muslim countries

Related tags: United arab emirates, Ukraine

Russia is planning to start exports of Halal poultry to the UAE and Qatar, while Ukraine’s Halal meat exports are booming, as both countries struggle with the effect of embargoes.

Russia and Qatar are currently in the process of agreeing certification for the Halal meat, with a view to starting exports by the middle of this year, according to Rosselkhoznadzor, Russia’s veterinary agency. If it goes ahead, the move will be Russia’s first exports of Halal poultry in recent years.

Doubling poultry exports

Russian authorities are doing everything possible so that, this year, [our poultry-producing companies] can begin deliveries of products to Qatar that meet Muslim quality control specifications​,” said Alexey Alekseenko, assistant to the head of Rosselkhoznadzor, quoted in Food Navigator’s sister site Global Meat News​.

Currently Russia exports around 65,000 tonnes of poultry meat a year. The agriculture ministry forecasts this could double, rising up to 130,000 tonnes in the near future.

In contrast, Ukraine’s Halal export business is booming, with 47 companies receiving Halal certification in the last eight months. The Ukrainian government has been encouraging firms to increase exports to regions such as the Middle East, in order to offset the losses caused by Russia’s embargo on Ukrainian products.

At the end of last year the country signed a deal to establish free-trade agreement with the GCC countries, which should allow Ukraine to double its poultry exports by 2020, according to Larissa Polishchuk, head of the Centre for Halal Research and Certification in Ukraine. But the country is still in talks with Saudi Arabia to resume exports, following a Saudi ban on Ukrainian poultry some years ago.

Growing Halal business

Along with new companies looking to enter the Halal export market, many of Ukraine’s current Halal meat producers are also growing their exports. MHP, one of the country’s largest agribusiness firms, said it plans to export 39% of its poultry production to the Middle East and North Africa this year.

We are signing new contracts regularly to supply our products into already explored markets, including the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iraq, Kuwait and Egypt, and in the countries where our products have not been sold before or only in small volumes, such as Hong Kong, Kuwait and Bahrain. One of the global projects, which will allow the company to significantly increase the volume of exports to the Middle East, will be establishing supplies to Saudi Arabia​,” said Sergey Gorbenko, head of MHP’s export development department, speaking to GMN​.

Even before the new push by the government towards Halal exports, Ukraine was already a major exporter of Halal poultry with 43%, or 80,000 tonnes a year, of its production going to majority Muslim countries in 2013. Iraq is the main importer of Ukrainian poultry, taking 28% of all shipments worth US$36.7m for the first seven months of 2014.

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