Washington, 06 November 2009 (Somalilandpress) — The government of Saudi Arabia on Thursday removed an 11-year ban on livestock imports from Somalia after fears of Rift Valley Fever were allayed, senior Somali officials told the VOA.

The decision was well received across Somalia as hundreds of thousands of farmers heavily rely on animal exports to the oil-rich Middle East. Under the new arrangement, Saudi officials will closely examine animals before they are shipped off to Saudi soil.

“This is a tremendous decision for Somalis across the Horn of Africa,” said Idiris Ibrahim Abdi, the livestock minister of Somaliland, the self-declared republic in northern Somalia, which has developed one of the most sophisticated animal processing plants in its port town of Berbera.
[ad#Google Adsense (336×280)]
According to news accounts, the Saudi agricultural ministry said the decision is based on years of cross examination and monitoring of animal farms in Somalia.

Animal trade is one of the few surviving economic engines of Somalia”s largely destroyed economy. Business leaders and animal farmers have welcomed the Saudi decision with widespread jubilation.

“This decision will allow me to triple my animal sales to shipping companies,” said Mohamed Hassan Kahde, an animal farmer in the central town of Beledweyn. He said the ban was not only bad for business, but it was also bad for the animals.

An official with the Puntland Meat Processing Authority told the VOA that they expect to export more than half a million heads of goats and cows to Saudi Arabia in time for the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage, which will be performed by early December.

By Abdirahman Ali
Source: VOA, Nov 05, 2009


  1. I personally feel that this sanction was a political move because the KSA did not want Somaliland to take economic advantage. While south of Somali has been in a mess, Somaliland economy could of used and would of gain a huge market with regards to exporting the Somali/Somaliland animals. Berbera Port and the city of Berbera today would of been in a better position.

  2. It's true Saudi Arabia was using this as a political tool rather than a health concern now that its been hit by a recession and declining global oil demand they looking back at the Somali markets for livestock before it was importing from Australia. Let's also remember Australia has partly survived the recession and its dollar as gained grounds on the green back (USD) so the Saudis are feeling the heat.

    That's all it is. We should use them while we cant and forget about them to many Somalis Saudia is Muslim country but to Saudis Somalis are just another black abids (slaves).

    Not a fan of Saudia – is there way we could move the Kahbah from there?

  3. Saudi Arabia will soon go the way of Afghanistan and Somalia, a failed state, once the current generation of Ibn Abdulaziz progeny die out, it is going to implode. Mark my words.

  4. Hassan and Kariye shame on you. I want to tell both of you that Saudi Arabia banned Jordan live stock for some time and of course you know Jordan is an Arabic country.
    I really wished that we shift our economic from livestock based economy to industry , knowledge and services based economy. But Somali people are lazy and narrow minded and what proves that we are narrow minded is that we spend millions of dollars every year on qat. While we are supposed to invest these millions in our country.

  5. Gentlemen,
    Please hold your horses, open your mind and be smart. I live in Saudi Arabia. There are so many Somali-Saudis of Somaliland origin in Saudi Arabia. In fact, 90 -95 percent of somali-saudis are of Somaliland origin. We believe Saudi Arabia is great country and the hope of all Muslims. We would like to develop and strengthen the relation between Saudi Arabia and Somaliland. As intellectuals and politicians, we need your help to write and talk positive.
    The somalilanders of Saudi Arabia have proven that they are authentic Somalilanders. And everyone knows the role they have played in the liberation of Somaliland. I know for fact, that somalilanders of Saudi Arabia have exerted a lot of effort and communicated to the highest level to lift the livestock ban. And I believe this is the result of their effort. So, please hold your horses.

    • You are right, but why we still rely on live stock only. Why we are not shifting our ecnomy to industry or anything better than live stock. I think Saudi Arabia has the right to ban Somali live stock but we do not have the right to set down and wait until Saudi Arabia to uplift the ban from Somali live stock. We have to vary our income source.

  6. You guys all crack me up but you have also stated some valid points, I respect that.
    Whatever the case is the past is the past and Somaliland must use this opportunity but must keep in mind to shift from livestock based economy to small industries and eventually we could make the full transition.

    I also suggest we need to improve our facilities at Berbera both in the well being of the animal, the shipping process and all paper work must be organized, timely and accurate. All transactions must be recorded and followed up to keep both transparency and future improvement in place.

    Time to feed the Muslims with beautiful tasteful organic meat.

  7. Of course, it was political and we (Somalilanders) will never forget that the Saudis chose to hit us hard when we needed them most. They are forgetting trade exchange is give and take. Somalilanders spend millions buying from Saudi Arabia. It is about time we learn from our past mistakes and not to put all our eggs in one basket to be at the mercy of the Saudis.

    We need to diversify our marketing strategy and explore other markets for our livestock. Our livestock spend their lives living in an open air, grazing in naturally grown green pastures. Nothing added except clean rain water from the well. Our meat is organic, healthy and in demand throughout the health conscious world. While in comparison, meat imported from Australia and elsewhere are confined and fed a mixture of grain with a variety of protein source from chicken feces, cow blood and other parts of pigs, horses and just about any animal parts unfit for human consumption. I am not making this up. It is true. And if the Saudis who are Muslims do prefer livestock fed the remaining of pigs and horses to naturally gazing livestock, let them have it and to enjoy it too!

  8. Ahmed Omar, you prove the point that the ban was political. By exerting a lot effort to persuade the doddering fools in Riyadh to lift the blockade, you have proven the point that it was political. Irrespective of whether most Somali Saudis are from Somaliland, Saudi Arabia, politically, is not a friend of Somaliland. This is a fact. It is a sad fact, but it is a fact. Somaliland is a democracy, Saudi Arabia is not. Somaliland is a moderate Muslim nation, Saudi Arabia is not.
    Among its sins, when the Barre regime was slaughtering Somalis left, right and centre, the custodians of the Holy places did not even utter a single La!.
    When Somalilanders were fleeing the shelling and bombing of Hargeisa and Burao by Barre's forces, Ethiopia opened its borders, the Saudi's threatened to deport Somalilanders living in their country.
    Saudi Arabia, on countless occasions, threatened to ban Somalilanders with a Somaliland passport from going to the Hajj, and may do so again this year. What has the Hajj go to do with politics?.
    Saudi Arabia has politically and financially supported Abdullahi Yusuf, who murdered and blundered his way through Somalia. They are supporting the hopeless TFG under Sharif.
    It would be unfair to generalize all Saudis, but the political forces, are not friends of Somaliland, and in all likely hood, will never be.

    • I have not read a single fact. You have not given a specific event with specific date and time. This is the kind of misconception and misunderstanding that we need to put aside and trash. We don’t need such mindless rage, high emotions and chest banging.
      Saudi Arabia is a sovereign country and it can do and take whatever action which is in line with its national interest. Today, what is the national interest of Somaliland? Somaliland national interest is to develop its economy. The reality is that Somaliland needs Saudi Arabia to buy its livestock, in order to build its economy. On the other hand, there is no doubt Saudi Arabia missed the Berberi sheep because of its high quality and low cost. Here we can focus on promoting and developing a relation that is based on mutual interest.

  9. There is no such thing as friend and enemy in world of politics, its just business! if somaliland has financial value to the states of the world, they would deal with us. This livestock is a good example! after life has become expensive in Saudi Arabia and as we somaliland took take of animal health, we are dealing with one another!

  10. You know, Mr. Omar, history repeats itself. Not long ago when Saudis and others in the Gulf were very poor and selling "Qacqac" in the streets of Somalia/Somaliland and buying "Lubaan" from the Somalis. But because of the oil (which could dry up sooner than they think) they think that money is everthing and see themselves above, looking down at less fortunate people.

    Although, Somalilanders are entitled to sell their livestock, ban of our livestock hit Somalilanders hard economically. But guess what? We survived and will survive similar situations thrown at us in future. We learned our lessons.

    Our national resources are still intact and reserved. When your oil dries up in the future, Saudis come back selling "Qacqac" again and we will reminder about what you have done to us in the games of politics.

    From now and on, we will certainly look for alternative market for our livestock. We are not going to be at the mercy of anybody, except Allaah Subxaanuhu Wa Tacaala.

  11. Lets just use this opportunity and use the money wisely, maybe to start small factories or industries. Time to move on.

  12. the livestock of somaliland is one that most of the Arab are like our livestock and its delicious meat when it compared with other livestock of the world but the somaliland economic is dependent on the livestock which most of the people are survive their benefit so that somaliland government must search every way that our livestock to buy or get the market like Arab or other countries of the Islam