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Meat production ‘cluster’ advocated for far east of Russia

By Vladislav Vorotnikov , 21-Sep-2012

Russia should create a large “cluster” of meat production in the far eastern regions of the country in order to develop meat exports to Asian countries, industry experts have said.

Speaking at a conference on red meat and poultry held in Moscow on 18 September, a group of industry experts agreed that the far east location was particularly important, because it would be situated very close to the largest meat consumers in Asia, as well as close to the US.

Head of the Russian Meat Union, Mushegh Mamikonian, said: “We have been encouraged by the position that Russia should be the largest exporter of grain, so we need a terminal to export grain from the far east. But, in my opinion, Russia should not export grain from there. We should create a large cluster for meat and finished meat products for export. For example, to [South] Korea and China.

According to Mamikonian, developing a meat cluster in the far east should be a priority for the whole livestock industry in Russia. However, he also pointed out that, in order to increase exports, producers must first achieve a reduction in meat prices on the domestic market. The price for pork in Russia is currently 70% higher than in neighbouring markets, and high prices do not support exports.

“If we look at the price of pork in Russia and animal diseases that are spreading, we must question how we can even talk about the markets of China, Korea or Japan,” he said.

The vice-president of the International Poultry Development Program Albert Davleev said there was a huge potential for the development of a meat cluster in the far east because of the availability of land to grow feed. In central and southern regions of Russia, in comparison, a lack of land means producers often have to buy in feed, the cost of which is increasing.

“In the Amur region and the Jewish Autonomous Region, there are giant fields used for soybean production, where soybean yields could be compared to European figures. We could also grow corn here,” said Davleev.