Qatar gets first cow shipment since boycott

Until last month, most of the fresh milk and dairy products for Qatar's 2.7 million people were imported from Saudi Arabia.
Until last month, most of the fresh milk and dairy products for Qatar's 2.7 million people were imported from Saudi Arabia.PHOTO: REUTERS

DOHA • The first batch of an anticipated 4,000 dairy cows was flown into Qatar on Tuesday, five weeks after the start of a Saudi Arabia-led boycott of the Gulf country.

The 165 cows, sourced from Germany and flying via Budapest, are ready to produce milk immediately and the product should reach local markets this week, according to a spokesman for Power International Holding, which is importing the animals.

Other shipments will include cows from Australia and the United States, and should arrive every three days, the company spokesman said on Tuesday.

In total, the bovine airlift is expected to bring in 4,000 cows within about a month.

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Qatar has been accused of supporting Islamist militants, charges the sheikdom has repeatedly denied.

The boycott that started on June 5 has disrupted trade, split families and threatened to alter longstanding geopolitical alliances.

The showdown has forced the world's richest country per capita to open new trade routes to bring in food, building materials and equipment for its natural gas industry. As part of its response, Qatar has imported Turkish dairy goods along with Peruvian and Moroccan fruit.

Until last month, most of the fresh milk and dairy products for Qatar's population of 2.7 million were imported from Saudi Arabia.

When all the cows purchased by Power International chairman Moutaz Al Khayyat are flown in, his brand of milk will supply about 30 per cent of the country's needs, he said in an interview last month.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2017, with the headline 'Qatar gets first cow shipment since boycott'. Print Edition | Subscribe