On 23 November 2022, representatives of the Al-Reef Al-Tholathy Saudi Arabian trading company arrived to Astana, specifically invited by the Director General of IOFS Yerlan Baidaulet in his last visit to Saudi Arabia in the October 2022. The Al-Reef-Tholathy delegation was headed by Mohammad Almukairsh – General Manager and Yassr Mohamed Shawky – Legal Adviser. At the first invitation the company expressed their interest in the sheep industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan and specifically in the Sheep Farming Fund.

Al-Reef Al-Tholathy is a major Saudi Arabian company which imports sheep meat to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and holds business interests in Australia, India, Georgia, Sudan and Ethiopia. In the past, the company used to purchase up to 1 million sheep, annually, from Africa, now it is switching to acquiring frozen sheep meat. This company has been in the business for more than 80 years. It is also worth mentioning that they have their own sheep transportation vessel with volumes of 120 thousand sheep to transport, considered the largest in the world.

During the second half of the day Al-Reef Al-Tholathy and the IOFS representatives were welcomed in the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan by the First Vice-Minister Saparov A.S. As an introduction, the Saudi Company made a short presentation of their activities and shared the aim of their visit. Then, the Vice Minister expressed his warmest welcome to them and expressed full support for all activities that would be performed in Kazakhstan’s sheep industry, including selection of suitable farmers and other forms of administrative support to stimulate the production and export of Kazakhstani meat to the GCC region. The parties expressed their mutual desire to build a strong and timeless partnership beneficial for all parties.

After the meeting, the guests from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were welcomed to the IOFS office headquarters. A presentation on the Sheep Farming Fund was delivered by the IOFS, during which a productive discussion on the details of the project and potential of Kazakhstan in the sheep industry was elaborated on. The guests were also acquainted with the livestock program presentation , where the strategic mission of the IOFS to enhance food security in the OIC region was explained. The representatives of Al-Reef-Tholathy were informed that potential prospects for cooperation are available and only reliable partners from the GCC are to join the project to move forward.

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