New Zealand is set to resume exports of lamb to Iran after a hiatus of almost two decades.
A report by the country’s Stuff news website said that Wellington-based meat processing company Taylor Preston would ship 60 tons of frozen cuts to Iran on May 22 in what it said would mark the resumption of trade with the Islamic Republic.
The report quoted Taylor Preston chief executive Simon Gatenby as saying that the company was looking to do more business with Iran.
"The reason we're doing this is to develop the trade, it's a nice easy order to start with, it allows us to get a bit of volume into the market and allow it to be tested," said Gatenby.
Farmers supplying the late season lambs were being paid a premium of $6.10 per kilogram, added the report.
Gatenby further added that the lamb would be sold for retail and domestic consumption.
"We've sold the Iranians essentially a full carcass but we've broken it into six main primal cuts - two legs, two loins and two shoulders," he said.
The Stuff elsewhere wrote that New Zealand's largest meat processing company Silver Fern Farms was also in talks with Iranian officials, but shipments were not likely to take place until the new season.
Exports of lamb from New Zealand to Iran were the highest in the 1980s when Iran took more than 100,000 tons of frozen carcasses a year.
The renewed exports follow a February visit by New Zealand’s Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy who signed a veterinary agreement to enable chilled and frozen lamb and beef exports to the Islamic Republic.