Iran eyes Australian sheep

08 Feb, 2013 03:00 AM
E1 Airsa Meat Packers chairman Ali Shafaghee (left) with former Kalgoorlie MP Graeme Campbell.
E1 Airsa Meat Packers chairman Ali Shafaghee (left) with former Kalgoorlie MP Graeme Campbell.

IRAN is slowly becoming a potential sheep and cattle market for Australia.

Farm Weekly first reported on the potential of Iran last year, with Iranian company E1 Airsa looking at building massive processing facility in Qeshm.

E1 Airsa chairman Ali Shafaghee was in Australia last week trying to move the process forward but admitted it was taking time.

The Iranian company is negotiating to resume the live export of sheep and cattle to Iran through the Qeshm Free Trade Zone.

Mr Shafaghee said with Qeshm being at the mouth of the Gulf it was ideally situated as the port of Kava offered easy access in sheltered waters.

"Qeshm, being an island, is a natural biosecurity barrier and is ideally situated to take any stock that are rejected by other countries in the region, whether the rejection is for genuine health concerns or the more likely political machinations," Mr Shafaghee said.

He said while Qeshm was the biggest island in the Gulf, it was only 1.8km from the Iranian mainland and had a roll-on/roll-off ferry service that operated around the clock.

Once any cargo was landed in Qeshm it had immediate and unimpeded access to the mainland and given the excellent and extensive road network, distribution throughout the country would be fast and efficient.

"While we will build an abattoir with the capacity to process 4000 head of sheep a day, our first priority is to build a large sheep handling facility," he said.

"We have the plans drawn up for covered yards to hold in excess of 50,000 head of sheep and construction will start very soon, and will be completed in less than 12 weeks.

"We will also have facilities to take a further 50,000 head in more extensive accommodation."

Mr Shafaghee said that his company had also acquired a modern abattoir plus 200 hectares of land at a point about half way between the capital Tehran and Qeshm Island.

This land would be used to spell stock and to produce high quality feed for the animals.

"My company has sought the expertise of West Australian people who are well regarded in the all aspects of the stock industry," he said.

"I realise that the Australian government has to undertake extensive due diligence and I hope that we will get a favourable outcome from them very shortly.

"All this proposed development is in the private sector and while we may appear impatient we know that time is money and both our countries need this project as soon as possible.

"I am happy to talk to the government about any aspect of our proposal that is causing concern."

Mr Shafaghee was also in Esperance last week discussing the potential acquisition of Shark Lake abattoir.

A deal has not yet been met and it is understood that a number of abattoirs in the eastern states are also interested in a partnership with the Iranian company.

Mr Shafaghee returned to Iran on Monday night but is due back in Australia in two weeks.

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8/02/2013 10:18:45 AM, on Farm Weekly

Great to see more trade but Iran of all places? Already suffering boycotts and sanctions over their weapons program. Imagine the risk in sending a live shipment there!
8/02/2013 10:18:50 AM, on Farm Weekly

Great to see more trade but Iran of all places? Already suffering boycotts and sanctions over their weapons program. Imagine the risk in sending a live shipment there!
Trish Brown
8/02/2013 10:32:15 AM, on The Land

Why would this has-been politician want to send Oz. sheep to this corrupt country that has nuclear weapons that could be used against us!
8/02/2013 1:25:33 PM, on The Land

The exporters and the farmers don't give a toss about that. See lots more like the Pakistan massacre out of this. And politicians, make no mistake, we haven't forgotten.
8/02/2013 2:13:06 PM, on Stock & Land

Bet Joe never had anything to do with this development. Iran used to be a major customer and unlike iron ore to Japan they will have trouble waging war against anyone with live sheep. I presume any "rejected shipments" landed there would come at a cost for accepting them.
hearing bulls hit
8/02/2013 2:13:16 PM, on Farm Weekly

People get a grip on real life please. What is wrong with feeding hungry people (where ever they are) with quality food that is bred, transported and slaughtered with the highest standards in the world. Australia should be leading by example of how to supply animals for meat consumption. Billions of people eat meat (if they can get it/afford it). Animal welfare is not served by fanatics stopping Australia's trade. Think about people welfare. Hungry people in the world. Farmers leaving the land in droves because we can't afford to feed people any more. But OK to import poor quality food.
8/02/2013 2:18:55 PM, on Farm Weekly

It seems the bigots & racists got in first. If Nixon had not gone to China would change occurred or would they be like Nth Korea? When markets are open and trade flourishes so do ideas, ideals and expectations .


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