Bulgaria in Talks with Qatar for Lamb Exports

Business | August 15, 2013, Thursday // 18:12|  views

File photo, BGNES

Bulgaria's Agriculture Minister Dimitar Grekov discussed Thursday opportunities for lamb exports to Qatar.

The meeting with representatives of Qatar was also attended by Deputy Ministers Yavor Gechev, Burhan Abazov, Valentina Marinova, as well as industry experts and representatives of livestock breeders' associations.

Nikolay Krastanov, Member of the Managing Board of the National Sheep Breeders' Association, told investor.bg that the aim was to reach a rate of export of 100 000 lambs a year.

According to a media statement of the Agriculture Ministry, the Qatari government has placed USD 50 M at the Bulgarian Development Bank, and the funds are to be granted as interest-free loans to sheep farmers so that they can invest in animals, fodder, and equipment.

The press office of Bulgaria's Agriculture Ministry emphasizes that the project is not a subsidy but a long-term commercial deal.

Krastanov commented that statistics of farmers indicated that the number of sheep in Bulgaria fell by 3-20% a year, depending on the region.

He assured, however, that sheep farmers still had sufficient capacity for supplies to Qataar, adding that an export rate of 100 000 lambs a year was not that much.

Qatar placed several conditions on the deal, including to work directly with the Bulgarian state, because of the fragmented state of production and in order to have guarantees that the project would not fail, as well as to receive big supplies of high-quality batches of sheep, meaning that the animals had to be well-bred and weigh certain kilos.

"This is a long-term project, provided that we pass the admission test," Krastanov specified

He explained that it was still unclear how farmers were to absorb the USD 50 M deposited with the Bulgarian Development Bank and the state had to create a mechanism.

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Tags: Bulgarian government, dimitar grekov, Qatar, lamb, export


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