ETHIOPIA – East African countries have declared an interest in entering the Southeast Asia’s meat and live animals market via Hong Kong under the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

In a statement, IGAD said penetrating the market through Hong could possibly eliminate the challenges its member countries are facing while exporting their products to MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

IGAD member countries comprising of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda export meat and live animals in the region, in Africa and in the Middle East.

It said the region was only able to meet 50% and 10% of the annual demand of the Middle East and North African markets respectively.

MENA’s meat and live animal market reaches its high peak during religious seasons when millions of live animals are exported especially to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for festivity slaughter.

“It was necessary to explore new markets in Southeast Asia while at the same time expanding the existing market in MENA,” the statement read.

“Hong Kong can serve as a gateway to different cities that have a combined population of 66 million people that can provide good market for imported livestock and livestock products.”

In 2014, the region exported 10 million of live animals to Middle East and North African (MENA) countries though this was limited by insufficient knowledge on requirements from importing countries, capacity to meet SPS/market compliance, in-consistent marketable product supply, limited value addition, inadequate market promotion and linkage among others.

In response to this, IGAD and FAO jointly developed a regional project entitled Improving Supply of Safe and Quality Livestock and Meat Exported from the Horn of Africa to Middle East and Gulf Countries to enhance competitiveness and market share of the region in livestock and livestock products.

The project has provisions to support private and public sectors from IGAD member states in learning on sustainable coordination of the private sectors in promotion and linkage.

The East African bloc IGAD recently sent its trade mission to Hong Kong to explore opportunities of entering the market for meat, hailing the possibilities to penetrate the region’s meat market via Hong Kong.