Drought and bushfires in Australia to impact halal exports
After three years of continuous drought in the country and a catastrophic bushfire incident started at the end of 2019, Australia is expected to offer a limited supply of red meat in the international markets. The impact on meat and livestock exports to Muslim-majority countries is expected to be major, hitting not only the red meat sector but also the dairy industry and livestock exports. "A lot of areas that have been affected are predominantly dairy producing areas and we have a significant live dairy heifer export trade. We are waiting to see what that impact will be. It’s not a very good situation and I would expect some impact on the export of those animals, but we aren’t sure yet," declared Mark Harvey-Sutton, chief executive of the Australian Livestock Exporters Council in an interview for Salaam Gateway.
The drought season has started in 2017 and has impacted the national herd, with a 14% drop anticipated in livestock exports during the year ending June 2020.
Beef production in Australia accounts for 3% in the global beef market, but the country is a major player when it comes to exports, especially in the halal meat market.
Lamb is a sector where the reduction in the national sheep flock is already visible, dropping from 72.1 million head in 2017 to an estimated 66.8 million by the end of the current financial year that ends June 30, says the government’s agricultural research department (Abares). "Production and exports are forecast to fall because fewer animals are available for slaughter,” Abares said in its December quarter 2019 agricultural commodities report. The decline is expected to continue to 64.9 million head next year. So far, importers have been sourcing lamb from New Zealand but for beef and livestock, most of the Muslim countries will look to South American competitors as Brazil is playing more aggressively in the international market.