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SOMALIA: First recognised meat market opened since 1991


Somalia's first officially recognised meat market opened last month in Abu Dhabi, after Dubai's municipality decided it could accept unlicenced meat with assurances from the UN and its international and local partners.

Somalia, a major livestock producing country, has been unable to officially export meat since the collapse of government in 1991 because of the absence of a national licensing system.

"This is the first time Somalia has a recognised foreign market for meat since the civil war," said Gian Paulo Aloe of UNDP Somalia's private sector development project.

UNDP has been working on opening meat markets for Somalia - formerly a major exporter of livestock - since 1998 after it received requests to invest some US $700,000 in slaughter houses. With funding, slaughter houses were built in Galkaiyo and Mogadishu.

Sheep, goat and camel meat used to be exported to the Arab States, but, without government licences, exporters only had an illegal option of sending livestock for slaughtering through Djibouti.

In May 1999 UNDP arranged two inspectors from Abu Dhabi, including the Deputy Head of Food Inspection and veterinary Control, to inspect the slaughter houses.

Despite a positive report, the absence of a government licensing system led to a refusal by the Technical Committee of the Emirates in August 1999 to allow Somali meat to be imported.

A visit by UNDP to meet the Secretary-General of the Municipality in October 1999 facilitated an agreement that UNDP could provide technical assistance to meat exporters and veterinaries to allow them to establish a system of acceptable certification.

Gian Paulo Aloe told IRIN that with the opening up of the meat market, meat export has been put "on the top of the agenda" by the Somali business community, and will be a focus for UNDP as a means to assist and develop Somalia.



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