Ukrainian chicken exports to Saudi Arabia ceased in 2008 because of a number of veterinary control violations, revealed by Saudi experts.
"Saudi Arabia remains a major trading partner in the agricultural sector for Ukraine. At the same time, it is the only one market among the countries of the Middle East, which remains closed for our chicken. Therefore, I suggest as soon as possible to solve all the questions and to open supply of poultry meat to Saudi Arabia," said the former minister of agriculture and food Mykola Prisyazhnuk.
Ukraine experts estimated the potential for exports to Saudi Arabia could reach a maximum of 30,000 tonnes, which would lead the country to significantly increase its total volume exports. The government is currently looking at ways of improving veterinary controls.
In 2014 the Ukraine poultry industry was expected to export about 170,000t-180,000t to markets including the European Union – which would be 50% more than in 2013, said Alexander Bakumenko, chairman of the Union of Poultry Farmers of Ukraine.
"This year we plan to export 170,000t-180,000t of chicken taking into account the supplies to the EU. However, it is difficult to say if we really would be able to reach this figures, because [supplies] to the Customs Union is closed, but we will try to expand into other markets," he said.
According to Bakumenko, in the first quarter of 2014 Ukraine exported 34,000t of poultry, which is 14% more than for the same period last year. EU countries have recently approved the quota for the supply of 36,000t of poultry meat from Ukraine.
He added that due to the closure of the Russian market and the Customs Union, Ukraine lost exports of 50,000t of poultry or 30% of total supplies. "The current situation complicated the transit through the Russian Federation, even in countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan," he said.
According to Ukraine analysts, the opening of the markets of Saudi Arabia and China would let the country increase poultry meat exports to about 250,000t even without the market of the Customs Union.