Concerned agencies are
considering enforcement of a ban on the import of cattle feed,
especially barley and pulses, from Europe as a precautionary measure
against the spread of the foot-and-mouth disease which is wreaking
havoc in European countries. Arab countries such as Tunisia and
Morocco have already taken such measures.
The move will,
however, be against the interests of the cattle feed exporters to the
Kingdom which is the largest market for the manufacturers in the
European Union countries.
The steps are
likely to affect the European barley export in general during the
coming weeks as a number of other importing countries are also
expected to enforce a ban on European cattle feed, particularly after
a warning by the Food and Agriculture Organization that the disease
can be contracted through the cattle feed coming from countries where
the disease is present.
The Saudi move is
likely to have some negative reflections on the international barley
stocks as the Kingdom is the largest importer of the cattle feed which
reached eight million tons in 1988. However, the imports came down to
five million tons in later years.
following the detection of two cases in Yanbu in the Madinah province,
have mobilized all resources to contain FMD which poses a grave threat
to the cattle wealth in the Kingdom.
As a pre-emptive
measure against further escalation of the disease, the authorities
have banned import of cattle from Iran, India, Taiwan and Argentina, a
new source for beef.
Imports from the
United Arab Emirates, which reportedly serves as a transit point for
export of banned animals to the Kingdom in addition to Lebanon, Turkey
and EU countries, have also been on the ban list.
The Ministry of
Agriculture and Water has started intensive checking for
disease-carrying animals in sheep markets and farms in various parts
of the country. The ministry is working in conjunction with the
customs department and quality control laboratories under the Ministry
of Commerce not to allow any consignment of meat or its derivatives
coming from any of the countries which have mad cow or FMD.
tests of the consignments are to be expanded and the accompanying
documents have to be scrutinized particularly from countries in the
ban list as well as their neighboring countries which are likely to
involve in the re-export of contaminated meat.
Steps have also
been taken to inform the ministry of any suspected cases arriving at
the entry points and also to conduct daily checks at meat outlets and