Russian beef imports rise, domestic herd declines

By Oscar Rousseau contact

- Last updated on GMT

Russia is producing and importing more beef, despite falling domestic consumption
Russia is producing and importing more beef, despite falling domestic consumption

Related tags: Russia

Moscow is importing huge volumes of beef from South America and Serbia at the same time as Russian meatpackers ramp up production amid a fall in cattle numbers.

Beef imports to Russia – led by Argentina and Serbia – are rising in conjunction with a domestic cattle herd on the slide, according to Russian meat industry analyst EMeat.

EMeat said the “number of cattle in Russia is still declining​”, but provided no firm figures to support this and did not explain for how long the cattle herd had been falling. But alongside the claimed decline in cattle numbers. EMeat data, covering January to October 2017, showed beef production increasing marginally, by 0.8% year-on-year.

Production could increase more in the coming years too, with the country’s largest beef producer, Miratorg​, in the midst of plans to build a huge, vertically integrated, multi-state beef project. When complete, this will be the largest of its kind in post-Soviet Russia.

Russians are eating less beef 

Alongside rising production, Russian imports “continue to grow​”, EMeat claimed.

The main trading partners for fresh beef are Argentina, Serbia and Belarus, while Brazil and Paraguay are notable suppliers of frozen beef and by-products to Russia.

But while production and imports of beef continue to rise in Russia, domestic consumption is falling.

Consumption of beef in the country was around 14kg per capita by the end of 2016, down 5% on the year before, according to EMeat.

Related topics: Analysis

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