Ukrainian meat industry faces halal certification boom

By Vladislav Vorotnikov

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Middle east United arab emirates Saudi arabia Ukraine Poultry

At the beginning of 2015, certification was granted to the country’s largest poultry producers
At the beginning of 2015, certification was granted to the country’s largest poultry producers
In the past eight months, 47 Ukraine companies have received halal certification, with the aim of targeting exports to the Middle East, said head of the Center of Halal Research and Certification in Ukraine ‘Alraid’ Larissa Polishchuk. 

At the beginning of 2015, certification was granted to the country’s largest poultry producers, including Agromars and Pan Kurchak, while agricultural giant MHP said the Arab countries were likely to take a greater share of the company’s total poultry meat exports.

“Our company has been exporting poultry to Asia since 2008, to the Middle East since 2009, and to North Africa since 2012. Last year the share of products sold in these regions reached 38% of our total export supplies. And we plan to increase it to 39% in 2015,”​ said Sergey Gorbenko, head of MHP’s export development department.

“We are signing new contracts regularly to supply our products into already explored markets, including the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iraq, Kuwait and Egypt, and in the countries where our products have not been sold before or only in small volumes, such as Hong Kong, Kuwait and Bahrain. One of the global projects, which will allow the company to significantly increase the volume of exports to the Middle East, will be establishing supplies to Saudi Arabia,”​ he added.

Industry observers noted that export supplies of Ukraine poultry products became more profitable last year, due to a devaluation in the country’s currency, the hrivnia. And Muslim countries remain the most attractive destination.

“The Arab countries have money, but lack experience in food production. Some of these countries import up to 75% [of poultry], and most supplies are from far-away sources. For example, the demand for imported meat [in some of these countries] is 69% covered by Brazilian products, while almost 30% comes from New Zealand, Australia and North America. Ukraine is much closer,”​ said Polishchuk.

The Ukraine government is seeking to help Ukraine poultry producers increase their export volumes to the Middle East, as the ‘New Economic Policy’, adopted at the end of 2014, saw the signing of an agreement to establish a free trade zone with the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, which includes Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. It is expected this step will enable Ukraine to double the volume of its poultry exports to the region by 2018-2020, as it will have a strong competitive advantage over its main rivals.

As Polishchuk added, the important milestone is that, recently, halal certification has been awarded to the largest country’s poultry producers – Agromars and Pan Kurchak. Also, Ukraine producers said that Middle Eastern countries demand quite specific products.

“For most of the Middle East countries, key import products include broiler chicken carcases, weighing between 700g to 1,800g; frozen parts – breasts, legs and wings in retail packs of 900g and 2,500g; and raw materials for processing, such as fillets in blocks of 7.5kg. They are also showing considerable interest in some ‘traditional’ products, such as chicken carcases without bones,”​ added Gorbenko.

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