Doha 16th July 2013: Bulgaria and Qatar have discussed opportunities for lamb exports to Doha. The aim is to achieve exports of 100,000 lambs a year, according to officials in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria’s Agriculture Minister Dimitar Grekov discussed opportunities for lamb exports with representatives from Qatar on Wednesday. The meeting was also attended by Deputy Ministers Yavor Gechev, Burhan Abazov and Valentina Marinova, industry experts and officials of livestock breeders’ associations, the report said.
The Qatari government has deposited $50mn with Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB) and the funds are to be granted as interest-free loans to sheep farmers so that they can invest in animals, fodder and equipment, according to a media statement from the agriculture ministry.
The press office of Bulgaria’s agriculture ministry has asserted that the project is not a subsidy but a long-term commercial deal.
Nikolay Krastanov, member of the managing board of the National Sheep Breeders’ Association said statistics indicated that the number of sheep in Bulgaria fell by 3-20% a year, depending on the region. He, however, assured that sheep farmers still had sufficient capacity for supplies to Qatar.
Qatar imports almost all of its food requirements at present. The government has launched ambitious plans to achieve food security by setting up dedicated establishments and investing billions of riyals in projects, both locally and abroad.
Qatar has entered into deals with countries like Pakistan, Sudan and Australia for producing or importing grains and livestock. Two of the leading organisations tasked with ensuring food supplies to Qatar are Widam and Hassad Food Company.