The government has allocated an unprecedented amount – UAH1bn (US$125m) – to grants and subsidies for cattle breeding in the private sector, reported Minister of Agricultural Policy and Food Nikolai Prysiazhniuk, following a government meeting on 27 April.
“Today a special ordinance of cattle industry support was released. I am confident that these grants will allow us to motivate the increase of livestock numbers and therefore an increase in beef production,” said the Minister.
“The special grants will be paid for the content of young cattle, and their final amount will depend on the age of animals. Farmers will receive UAH250 (US$31.29) per head for young cattle aged three to five months, UAH500 (US$62.58) per head for animals from six to eight months, and UAH750 (US$93.87) per head for cattle from nine to 11 months (inclusive),” he added, in an official decree of the Ukrainian government.
As stated during a recent press conference by Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov, all available forms of support for agricultural producers will be used to improve the country’s livestock situation.
“Now, we are accumulating measures to support the development of animal husbandry. We set ourselves the task to reverse the downward trend in cattle population. Now we are considering the optimum combination of two main directions: the support of large-scale meat producers and small farmers simultaneously,” Azarov said. The Prime Minister also noted that farmers should unite with consumer, agricultural and manufacturing co-operatives, as it will allow them to buy cheaper machinery, fertiliser, seeds and feed, and simplify the procedure for granting state support.
According to official statistics, the Ukrainian cattle herd has been steadily declining over the past 22 years, resulting in a drop from 25.1m head in 1990 to 4.5m head today. At the end of March this year, Azarov said that even just a partial recovery of cattle would require an annual increase of 300,000 head in the next five to seven years.
In the first three months of 2012, the country registered a decline in the main production indicators of the meat industry. In response, the government decided to start supporting the production of beef as the weakest and most vulnerable sector of agriculture. Due to such strong support, the government expects the prices for livestock products to stabilise in the second quarter of 2012. As a result, the Ministry of Agriculture plans that the poultry market will stabilise.
Meanwhile, possible support measures for pork producers are still under discussion.