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21st of January 2018


UAE Bans Live Animal Cargo Flights from Ethiopia

The ban came into effect in December as a result of disagreement over crates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ethiopia’s largest live animal export destination, banned cargo flights from Ethiopian Airlines carrying live animals, sheep and goats, as a result of disagreement over the crates used to transport the animals.

The ban became effective as of early December 2017, and negotiations to settle the issue are underway between the UAE and the Airlines, which owns eight cargo fleets as of April 2016 and has eight destinations in the Middle East.

“They have problems with the crates used while shipping the animals,” Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines told Fortune. “They want us to change many things.”

To ship the live animals, exporters use two routes; via sea and air. Mostly, live animals are exported from the country through the Port of Djibouti by ships.

Exporters though, prefer to ship their animals in vessels as cargo charter flights cost them an average of 50,000 dollars. The other factor which led exporters to opt for sea transportation is the limited carrying capacity of the cargo planes- 1,000 sheep and goats in a single trip.

The ban exacerbates the already declining live animal exports, plummeting by two folds in the 2016/17 fiscal year from the preceding year. In the 2015/16 fiscal year, the revenues from livestock exports stood at 148 million dollars.

During the first nine months of the past fiscal year, 232,228 live animals of which 71,105 cattle, 11,527 camels, and 149,595 sheep and goats were exported generating 58.89 million dollars. From the total, about 42.72 million dollars came from cattle, 6.57 million dollars from camels and 9.6 million dollars from sheep and goats.

Leading in Africa and the fifth in the world in livestock resources, Ethiopia has 35 million cattle, 23.4 million sheep, l7.5 million goats, 5.5 million horses and mules, one million camels, and a million poultry.

But the country has not been benefitting from these resources owing to the illegal trade and live animal smuggling into neighbouring countries, inadequately organised domestic and export market chains, cattle health, fodder shortage,  as well as gaps in value chain and processing.

The United Arab Emirates, the largest recipient of meat and live animals, had temporarily banned meat from Ethiopia in 2015. The disagreement arose due to an undelivered meat order during the holiday season, when most of the local meat processing companies temporarily stop working for the holyday.

Fikru Deksisa (PhD), an economic analyst at the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates to Ethiopia, claims that no official ban came from the UAE. Yet, he confirms that the two are deliberating on the number of animals held in a single crate.

“Negotiations are underway to reduce the number of animals carried in a single case to 45 from 60,” Fikru told Fortune.

The two parties have arranged for a meeting this week to deliberate on the issue.


Published on Jan 06,2018 [ Vol 18 ,No 923]

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