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US poultry exporters eye expanding Mideast market

By Ralph ShafferSpecial to The Christian Science Monitor / May 18, 1982



In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, there's a street called Chicken. That's not its official street-sign name -- just a neighborhood locale where shop-front merchants are selling more and more dressed poultry.

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In the past three years, according to figures from the US Department of Agriculture, countries of the Middle East have doubled their poultry imports. This tonnage is estimated to increase another 30 percent in 1982.

In 1981, members of the EC captured 33 percent of the Middle East market. The US and Brazil were tied in second place, each with 20 percent.

Industry observers say American processors are gearing up to expand their sales. US trade associations have been formed to facilitate large orders. US processors, are looking at methods of international competitors such as the French and the Brazilians, who have set up specialized plants for Middle East poultry exports. These units often cater to cultural or religious needs -- such as Islamic slaughter, Arabic labeling, and specified broiler sizing.