The Middle East established itself as Australia's largest lamb export destination in 2010, surpassing the United States, with shipments increasing 2 percent on the previous year to a record 36,670 metric tons according to figures released by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The Middle East and North Africa region received 38,151 metric tons of Australian lamb in 2010 -- 24.5 percent of total exports for the year and just shy of the record 39,119 metric tons set in 2009. While robust consumer demand and strong economic growth assisted the rise in shipments to the Middle East in 2010, the increased price for lamb and the strong Australian dollar impacted exports to many of the more price-sensitive North African markets.
The top three destinations for Australian lamb within the Middle East and North Africa during 2010 were the United Arab Emirates (13,194 metric tons), Jordan (8,361 metric tons) and Iran, which emerged from taking no Australian product in 2009 to 7,527 metric tons in 2010. Of the 38,151 metric tons of lamb sent to the region in 2010, the top three cuts were carcasses (37 percent), legs (18 percent) and shoulders (14 percent).
Reprinted in part from AMEInfo.com