Cattle exporters on a discovery mission in Algeria

A number of Irish cattle exporters have been on a discovery mission in Algeria to search for new markets for Irish stock.

As part of a Department of Agriculture led trade mission, exporters were introduced to a number of key Algerian cattle buyers and traders.

The Irish delegation were shown the type of cattle the potential market wants, which consists of mostly continental breed bulls weighing between 300-450kg.

The Algerian market also requires bulls ranging in age from eight-to-12 months and are capable of gaining high average daily weight gains on concentrate, alfalfa and maize silage diets.

Main breeds imported into Algeria:
  • Charolais
  • Limousin
  • Saler
  • Aubrac

Algeria could potentially be another export market for Irish live cattle and it may complement the trade which is currently underway between Ireland and Turkey.

Saler bulls weighing 300kg
Saler bulls weighing 300kg

However, official figures show that the majority of cattle imported to the North African nation, which is the 10th largest country in the world, are of French origin – with French exports sitting at about 40,000 head on an annual basis.

Algerian live cattle imports between 2011-2015
Algerian live cattle imports between 2011-2015

The number of cattle imported to Algeria has also dropped in recent years, falling from a high of almost 100,000 head in 2013 to an estimated total of less than 40,000 in 2015.

This fall can be largely attributed to a fall in the value of oil in recent years, as Algeria is a key player on the world crude oil and petroleum market.

Video: French-born weanlings on Algerian farms

Can Irish cattle be shipped to Algeria?

In May of this year, the Department of Agriculture received clearance to allow the live shipment of Irish cattle to Algeria.

Under the veterinary certification procedure, both breeding cattle and male cattle for further feeding or immediate slaughter were granted clearance to be shipped to Algeria.

Along with being free from a number of key diseases, the cattle which are destined for slaughter are required to be less than 24 months of age on arrival in Algeria, while those destined for further feed need to be less than 18 months on arrival.