TURKEY is emerging as a growing live export destination for Australian sheep.
The Eurasian country was the single largest importer of live Australian sheep in February this year, taking just under 73,000 head.
The Turkey shipments contributed to a 2 percent lift above Australia’s live sheep exports in February 2017, to 170,400 head.
Meat & Livestock Australia said live sheep shipments to Turkey came back online last year, as the Turkish government sought to provide options to address increasing prices as domestic production fell behind demand.
Turkey has been importing sheep from Romania and Australia, with a preference for high quality Australian sheep. MLA said there are also positive indications that Turkey will look to commence the import of breeding ewes to support domestic breeding programs.
Live sheep shipments to Qatar totalled 45,000 in February, back 10pc compared to the same period last year. However, exports still reflect the strong demand for sheep meat in the region, in particular from Qatar as demand is being driven by preparations for the 2022 Soccer World Cup, MLA said.
Live sheep exports to Kuwait in February were just under 24,000 head, back 60pc year-on-year. MLA said demand during religious festivals of Eid is anticipated to decline due to its occurrence in the middle of summer. It is not uncommon for local residents to leave the region during the peak summer months.
MLA said Australia exports no sheep to Jordan in February, as limited spending power, a very flat economy and Romanian imports, challenged shipments from Australia.
Oman imported 6000 Australian sheep in February and a renewed focus on improving food security in the region is likely to see shipments increase over the next 12-18 months, MLA said.
Exports to Malaysia in February were also relatively high, at 6555 head. This included a sea consignment of 4500 head delivered with a cattle shipment, MLA said.