Russia-based meat producer Cherkizovo has started exports of halal poultry meat to Tanzania as part of moves to expand its presence internationally.

The first batch of 54 tons of meat has from despatched from Cherkizovo’s poultry farm in the Lipetsk region of Russia and the group said total shipments to the East African state by the end of this year are expected to reach up to 500 tons.

The move comes shortly after Cherkizovo, which is listed in London and Moscow, announced the start of exports to Egypt.

Cherkizovo said it had identified halal meat production as a market opportunity in Russia and overseas and “re-engineered” its facilities accordingly. The company’s Lipetsk facility received its licence to export halal products in April 2016, after the production process was certified as conforming to Islamic rules of animal slaughter.

The company said it now produces smaller broilers of 1.1-1.3kg for the Muslim market under its halal brand, Dajajti, for export markets, with products shipped frozen.

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By GlobalData

Cherkizovo has selected Zanchick as its distributor for the Tanzanian market. “Zanchik is one of the largest distributors of poultry meat, including premium halal meat, in east Africa and has an extensive distribution network in Zanzibar, enabling it to control the entire supply chain of frozen products,” Cherkizovo said.

Cherkizovo’s head of exports Andrei Terekhin said: “Even though our first shipments to Tanzania are relatively small in volume, the launch of exports to Tanzania marks another milestone in our journey to expand sales of our products internationally. Since over 90% of Zanzibar’s population practises Islam, we anticipate high demand for our halal products and hope to increase export volumes to the country next year.”

In May, the company reported a first-quarter loss amid higher production in the country’s poultry industry and pressure from the falling value of the ruble