Somalia herders eyeing windfall after Saudi Arabia lifts two-year livestock ban

Saudi Arabia is the largest market of camels, cattle, goats and sheep from Somalia.

Livestock, Range and Forestry minister Sheikh Nur Mohamed Hassan confirmed the news and said the decision followed discussions with the Saudi authorities.

“Saudi officials realised that the Somali livestock were healthy,” said Mr Hassan.

Saudi Arabia banned imports of Somali livestock in September 2016 following reports of an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in the Horn of Africa country.

“The health and quality concerns raised by the Saudis have now been cleared,” he added.

The ban lifting coming just months before Hajj is to like a godsend to Somali herders who have been through hard times following the ban.

“Up to 1.1 million goats will be exported to Saudi Arabia prior to this year’s Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca about two months from now),” stated Mr Hassan.

Apart from Saudi Arabia Somalia also exports livestock to Egypt, Oman and Yemen.

“My ministry is going to secure other export markets for our livestock,” Mr Hassan said.

Somalia has in recent years increasingly become more stable and peaceful and has managed to revive many businesses which had suffered a natural death due to civil war.

Last month for instance, Somalia began exporting fish to neighbouring Kenya for the first time in close to 30 years.

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