Quarantine Stations and certifications system spurs export trade

Posted on: October 18th, 2012 by admin

Quarantine Stations and certifications system spurs export trade.

Exports of livestock from Berbera have grown by more than 100%. following construction and commissioning of two new quarantine stations and full embracing of livestock certification system.

How the quarantine stations came about

Towards the end of 2000, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) imposed an import ban on all livestock and livestock products from Somaliland. The other countries in the Gulf, namely Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen, followed suit immediately thereafter. This ban followed another import ban imposed in 1998 and 1999. Both bans were in response to the health risks related to the epizootic Rift Valley Fever (RVF) disease found in northern Kenya and southern Somalia. During the RVF outbreak in 2000, the disease spread to southwest Saudi Arabia, resulting in over 30 human fatalities.

In mid2001, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, the UAE, and Yemen lifted the ban on live animal imports which offered some respite to Somaliland livestock producers and traders. However, the embargo by Saudi Arabia was not lifted, and it continued to have major implications on trade as Saudi Arabia comprised about 95 percent of the export market share and offered better prices to traders. The Saudi blockade continued until September 2009, leading to fluctuations in livestock export volumes, reduction in foreign exchange inflows and weakening of the Somaliland shilling, among others.

In response to the negative impacts caused by the continued import ban by the KSA, Somaliland livestock traders partnering with foreign investors made significant investments in quarantine stations in the Red Sea Port of Berbera as a precondition for lifting the ban imposed by the Saudi authorities. The first station started operations in September 2009. This station is owned and operated by the Saudi-Emirates International Veterinary Quarantine Management Company (SEIVQMC).

The second station was opened a year later in October 2010. This facility is a joint venture between Indha-Dheero Group Companies and businessman Mohammed Qaid Sa’eed (also known as Abu Yasser) and has the capacity to house 250,000 small livestock.

International standards certification implemented in the quarantine stations

In these Quarantine stations, the specific importing country requirements are followed during vaccination of animals and testing for specific diseases. Serological tests are carried out in the stations well-equipped laboratories by well qualified and trained laboratory staff.

Sharp rise in livestock export realized

The internationally accepted certification system set up within the quarantine stations has led to rapid increase in the number of livestock exported through Berbera from just above 1.6 million in 2009 to about 2.58 million in 2010 and 3.37 million in 2011. Exports in 2012 are promising. In the first five months of 2012, total number of animals exported is just above 770,000 heads, representing a 33% and 26% increase during the same period in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

It is expected that the investment in quarantine stations will not only expand, but stabilize Somaliland livestock exports. The tidings will even be better with the opening of the third quarantine station being constructed by the SEIVQMC. This new quarantine is expected to be able to hold more than 1.5 million heads of livestock.

What next?

The onus will now lie with the exporters and the Chambers of Commerce to diversify the export market for Somaliland livestock that is now restricted to the Middle East countries that comprise of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Potential markets include those in Asia, Europe and Africa.

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