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Saudi Arabia still bans Yemeni livestock exports (Local).

SANA'A, Aug 26-- Saudi Arabia continues to ban Yemeni sheep exports from entering the Saudi market. Since 2001 up to now, Saudi authorities request a certificate that Yemen is free of rift valley fever before they will even consider Yemeni sheep imports.

"We have been trying to coordinate with the Saudi Ministry of Agriculture for a long time to allow Yemeni sheep exports to enter their market. However, they refused, demanding that the Yemeni government provide a certificate stating Yemen is free of rift valley fever," said Mansoor Al-Qadasi, Director of the Animal Health Department at the Ministry of Agriculture.

"Now for sure Yemen is free of rift valley fever, but Saudi authorities still ban Yemeni sheep imports for no reason," Al-Qadasi stated.

Though Saudi Arabia recently lifted a nine year long ban on sheep imports on both Jordan and Sudan this month, Yemen is still suffering the consequences of the old ban decision.

The livelihoods of sheepherders in Yemen are being affected by the nine year long Saudi Arabia ban on Yemeni sheep. Meanwhile, smuggling is pushing prices of meat out of the reach of ordinary citizens in Yemen, said Yemeni experts.

"Sheep smuggling to Saudi Arabia is going on year round, but during Ramadan and some other seasons, smuggling increases due to the demand," stated Mostafa Nasr, Chairman of the Studies and Economic Media Center.

The Studies and Economic Media Center (SEMC) investigated Yemeni sheep smuggling into Saudi Arabia and found that the process is organized by professional smugglers. It includes the smuggling of ewes.

The center reported that it commonly receives complaints from citizens of the Tihama region on the west coast of Yemen, the area most affected by the consequences of smuggling.

"Complaints said that the price of meat in coastal plantations doubled in the past year, reaching YR 2,000, or USD 10 for one kilogram," according to the SEMC. According to the center, smugglers take Yemeni livestock to Saudi Arabia on a daily basis.

Moreover, the center revealed techniques used by the smugglers. It said that smugglers buy livestock from Yemeni markets in western coastal areas and drive them to Saudi Arabia via the Haradh road.

"Smugglers pay between YR 1,000 to 2,000, the equivalent of USD 5 to 10, at every checkpoint to get crossing licenses," explained the SEMC.

"The six crossing licenses that smugglers obtain from the various checkpoints are withdrawn at the last checkpoint. They then enter Saudi Arabia through Yemeni towns neighboring the kingdom," stated the center. "The most common Yemeni border towns for smuggling are Al-Mashnaq, Al-Madahesha, Al-Jafra and Qeta'a Al-Madafen," it pointed out.

The center demanded that Yemeni authorities take action against this illegal trade that has no revenues for the national economy and contributes to internal price hikes....

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Date:Oct 25, 2009
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