No Lamb Shortage, Say Producers - The Reykjavik Grapevine

No Lamb Shortage, Say Producers

Published August 4, 2011

Despite complaints from buyers, Iceland’s lamb producers say there is no shortage of lamb for the domestic market. However, the purchase price for domestic lamb has increased significantly.
As reported, the foreign market for Icelandic lamb has been booming. The demand has been so great, in fact, that over 40% of the country’s lamb, or about 3,600 tonnes, was exported in 2010.
Leifur Þórsson, the director of Ferskar Kjötvörur, told RÚV that he has not been able to find lamb available except at Sláturfélag Suðurlands, where he would have to pay 15% to 20% more than he is used to. This has led to the idea of actually importing foreign lamb for sale in the domestic market.
However, Minister of Agriculture Jón Bjarnason has said that there will be no importing lamb, as he believes that allowing for the import of lamb would put Icelandic meat production in danger. He is, though, very happy with how well exports are going.
The Federation of Trade & Services is less than happy with Jón’s response, and have decided to file a formal complaint with parliament over the matter. They are certain that the price of lamb meat in Iceland will only continue to climb.
In the meantime, Sláturfélag Suðurlands has issued a statement re-affirming that there is more than enough lamb for the domestic market. They contend that they have 600 tonnes of the meat ready for sale in Iceland this month, exceeding the demand of about 500 to 550 tonnes for August.
That said, if buyers such as Leifur cannot turn a profit selling the meat – as producers are asking for higher prices – than the meat cannot be sold, and a shortage indeed exists.
How the matter will be resolved remains as yet unknown.

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