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28 March 2010 04:20 pm

Mawashi to raise livestock locally

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The Qatar Meat and Livestock Company (Mawashi) hopes to raise livestock locally so meat could be sold at affordable prices in the country. A senior Mawashi official obliquely hinted that since meat prices are on the rise globally it is important to cut imports and develop local supply sources. Omer Al Hajri, head of human resource and finance at Mawashi told Al Sharq that a plot of land had already been allotted to the company for the purpose of breeding livestock. “We are presently busy seeking the necessary approvals,” the official said. His response came when Al Sharq referred the findings of an online survey to Mawashi on meat prices in which 90 percent of the interviewees said they didn’t approve of rising meat rates. Only three percent respondents said they did not find meat expensive while the remaining seven percent said they were undecided and had no comments to offer. Al Hajri outlined a number of reasons for skyrocketing mutton prices in the local market. One of the main reasons, he said, was that there were livestock shortages worldwide. In Australia, for example, which is a large and quality livestock producer, the production of fodder is suffering due to bad weather conditions. Rainfall has been scanty there. Due to this, fodder prices have gone up in the country. This is in turn pushing livestock prices up. “On top of it, local consumption of meat has been increasing in Australia which is affecting exports,” said Al Hajri. Qatar is not the only country in the GCC where people are complaining of rising meat prices. The trend is in witness in every country in the region, he added. Then, due to increasing oil prices transport (shipment) costs had also been spiraling and of late, there had been an increase in insurance premiums too, said Al Hajri. Finally, since Mawashi is a profit-making company and has its own operating costs, it charges small margins to manage its affairs. And although Australian meat is subsidised by the Qatari government, the price rise in the global livestock market is adversely impacting the local meat rates. According to Al Hajri, the only way to ensure that mutton prices remain stable is for Qatar to have some local livestock resources. “For this reason the company hopes to embark on the breeding project,” explained Al Hajri. http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=Local_News&subsection=Qatar+News&month=March2010&file=Local_News2010032821815.xml