HARGEISA, 20 February 2010 (Somalilandpress) – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia took productive step by allowing the livestock exports from Somaliland and Somalia. The livestock exports are economy backbone for both the countries, and 90% of daily income of Somali families is from livestock revenue. The Somali people at the horn of Africa cheered the decision of the kingdom to end the nine years old ban.
Historically, the Arabian Peninsula unveiled the importance and commercial quantity of Somali livestock during 19th century, after British Empire supplied meat to its military at Aden, Yemen, from the horn of African region, which caught the attention of the Yemeni traders, who later started exporting the meat and livestock from Somaliland to Saudi Arabia. The export of livestock by Yemeni traders was from the horn of Africa, Yemen and to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
In 1956, the first Somali businessman called Sufi Hassan exported from Berbera to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia directly and without Yemeni traders. The livestock business continued between Saudi Arabia and Somaliland without health certificates and laboratory checkups, until recently after Rift Valley Fever was discovered in the region, and Saudi authorities banned the livestock from the region.
Somaliland and regional health authorities announced that animals of the region are not sick and there was no Rift Valley Fever, instead there is political propaganda to disable some of the fast-growing economies like Somaliland. However, Saudi Arabia continued listening to such propaganda and ban lasted for nine years.
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Late 2008, Somaliland authorities and Saudi businessman Al-Jabiri joined hands to restore this traditional livestock trade between Somaliland and Saudi Arabia, and Quarantine Center at Berbera City was construction in coordination with Al-Jabiri. The center won international quality and standard accreditation. The nine year long ban on Somali livestock exports to Saudi Arabia damaged the income of the average Somali families across the region.
After the Saudi government led by his highness the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz restored the trade link and lifted the ban, the entire Somali people in the region welcomed the decision because for them it was between death and life. The people of Somaliland thanks to the King Abdullah and Ministry of Livestock of Saudi Arabia for the humanitarian and courageous decision.
The Saudi government realized that lifting the ban from Somali livestock exports will be more valuable to the Somali people than the millions of dollars in aid. The people of Somaliland praised Saudi authorities for distinguishing between the trade and politics in Somalia.
The Saudi authorities should know that Berbera port is the major export center for Somali livestock, and newly constructed quarantine center is to ensure the safety of the animals according to international standards. Bosasso Port of Puntland comes to second inline in export business.
Again, the people of Somaliland and Somalia are thanking to his highness the King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz for lifting the ban.
By – Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi