Russia’s largest meat producer, Miratog, is planning to double its production of high-quality marbled beef by investing an additional RUB23bn (US$770m) in its beef supply chain.
The company, which invested RUB21bn (US$682m) in the project last year, has asked for RUB19bn (US$617m) in subsidies from the federal government, with the request currently under consideration by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Arkady Dvorkovich. It predicted the investment would enable it to increase beef production to 124,000 tonnes per year, meaning that it would occupy 5% of the Russian beef market.
Miratorg spokesperson Dmitry Lgovski said the project was promising: “In Russia, the culture of beef consumption is quite poor compared with pork, for example. So the beef market is still not saturated,” he explained.
“The issue of funding will depend on the interest and support from the government... the position of the Ministry of Agriculture is still not fully clear for us.”
However, the new project has attracted criticism from the National Meat Union. Head of the union Mushegh Mamikonian said that production of expensive marbled beef was not a socially significant project, and therefore the state should not give money to support it.
“In my personal opinion, beef is purchased by people who are not very sensitive to the price of animal proteins. For most of our people the most important thing is the saturation of markets with poultry and pork products. This is basic stuff in Russia, as well as in the whole world. I do not think allocation of budget funds for such a project is very correct. If the initiator of the project believes this type of production is profitable, then they can talk about their money and their commercial basis, but not about public funds,” he said.
“Miratorg is a reputable company, they are developing very well, but it is better to have such projects in the field of poultry and pork production. They are more reliable and efficient.”