Ministry of Agriculture on significant increase in meat imports to Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan, April 19

By Matanat Nasibova – Trend:

The growth of meat imports to Azerbaijan has absolutely nothing to do with a decline in domestic meat production, an informed source in the Ministry of Agriculture told Trend, commenting on recent information about a 50-percent increase in meat imports to the country.

According to the source, a serious need for imports arose due to the formation of gaps in this market segment, as a result of monitoring and special trips by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Food Safety Agency.

As a result of inspections in the meat product market, large volumes of meat unsuitable for consumption and not meeting sanitary and hygienic standards were withdrawn from sale.

"I should note that these consisted of frozen meat, mostly low-quality buffalo, which was imported to Azerbaijan from India and Brazil. This meat was mainly bought by sausage production facilities. All these instances have been dealt with, and currently frozen meat from Ukraine and Belarus is being imported to the local market. As a result, the figure of imports into the country has increased,” the government official explained.

The official noted that frozen meat coming to Azerbaijan from Ukraine and Belarus is of a higher quality and has a more affordable price.

“As for local meat production – it is growing, as the country pays great attention to expanding farms and the development of the livestock industry in general. Moreover, there are proposals for exporting local lamb to Arab countries. Export options to Dubai are not excluded. Meat production is increasing in Azerbaijan, and the demand for domestic products in foreign markets is increasing as well," said the source.

According to the State Customs Committee, Azerbaijan imported 13,033,000 tons of meat for $18.149 million in January-March of the current year. According to estimates, this is by 4.312,000 tons (49.4 percent) and $4.94 million (37.4 percent) more compared to the same period last year. Thus, for 3 months, meat imports amounted to 0.6 percent of total imports to Azerbaijan.

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