According to FVS head Vidmantas Paulauskas, the country has made good progress in terms of the certification of production in other countries. In 2015, Lithuania established the supply of beef to Lebanon and Egypt, while the largest amount of halal meat has been supplied to Jewish and Muslim communities of neighboring countries in the European Union (EU).
“Last year we exported 420t of beef produced in accordance with the rules of ritual slaughter, including 100t we supplied to Lebanon, 50t to Egypt, and the rest to the EU where it has been sold to religious communities,” Paulauskas said.
Strong demand in Europe
It was reported, that the demand for halal meat in Lithuania was on the rise last year, thanks to the inflow of refugees, as some particular districts even faced a deficit of such production.
“Still the sale of halal meat inside European Union seems to our producers more profitable, than delivering it to the Muslim countries due to the more attractive price. This is connected with the lower logistics spends, better established supply channels and more attractive market price, compared to the countries of the Middle East and North Africa,” commented Yanis Palapustas, a representative of the animal husbandry department of Lithuania’s Agricultural Ministry.
The fact that in 2016 the country’s producers of meat of ritual slaughtered animals has been partly confirmed by the representatives of FVS.
“In regard of Muslim countries, we are currently in negotiation with some countries [for opening of the domestic market], including Iran, where the process is almost completed, and Morocco, but our businesses are not very interested in this market, probably due to not very appropriate price, compare to for example, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Albania,” Paulauskas explained.
Muslim countries are still promising
Paulauskas also added that last year the share of meat of ritual slaughtered animals totaled 10% of all exported of beef, amounting to 3,770t. He said that given the negotiations with a number of countries FVS expect this figure to raise within the coming years.
“[Exports of] 420t of beef is very good figure for the first year. The ice has been broken,” he said.
The head of the Lithuanian Association of Meat Processors, Egidijus Mackevičius, also expressed a similar opinion and believes the Arabian Peninsula should be considered a very promising region for meat exports as it has a lack of its own production capacities.
“At the same time, we have a problem that we do not have embassies there, only the consuls, who do not have enough authority. We need embassies in these countries, to clarify all the possible issues, but the process if difficult, everything is delayed because there are specific cultural and religious differences,” added Mackevičius.