Kazakhstan hopes to become beef export giant

By Vladislav Vorotnikov

- Last updated on GMT

Kazakhstan hopes to become beef export giant
Kazakhstan plans to export 60,000 tonnes (t) of beef this year, primarily to Russia and China, according to the Kazakh Agricultural Ministry.

The further growth in export supplies anticipated in the coming years would allow the country to enter the list of the world’s largest beef exporters.

Over the past five years the government has invested KZT130 billion ($403 million) in order to increase the export potential of the domestic beef industry, Agricultural Minister Umirzak Shukeyev said during a recent government meeting. He explained that this money was spent on subsidies to commercial farms and to purchase 60,000 head of Black Angus breed.

In 2017, the population of cattle in Kazakhstan increased by 340,000 head to 6.7 million head, according to the data released by the national statistical service. The average meat gain in the industry was also on the rise thanks to the imported high-productive breeds, according to the data of the Ministry.

In this regard, it is believed that the entire infrastructure that was necessary to boost beef exports from some 4,000t in 2017 to at least 60,000t in 2018 was established last year, the Ministry said in the statement. In particular, Kazakhstan urged Chinese to cancel the food-and-mouth-disease- related (FMD) ban on import of beef of Kazakh-origin.

Giving this, the first Kazakhstan meat producers were certified to export beef to China in the second half of 2017. It is hoped the country is on the way to enter the list of the top five world’s largest beef exporters in the coming years, according to the Ministry.

Maksut Baktibaev, the chairman of the Meat Union of Kazakhstan, earlier estimated that the country could export nearly 50,000t of beef to China. In addition to beef, Kazakhstan could also establish export of lamb to the Chinese market.

Kazakhstan meat companies had some export agreements concluded with Chinese importers since 2015 and the only thing they were waiting for was the cancellation of the import restrictions introduced over the FMD outbreaks in the country, according to Baktibaev.

New industry-development program

In the meantime, Kazakhstan has recently adopted a new program of beef industry development. The government planned to issue subsidies only to the commercial farms with the population above 1,500 heads of cattle, and in the first place to those farmers who are focused on breeding of the high-productive cattle. It is believed that these producers have the highest export potential in the domestic beef industry.

Almasbek Sadyrbaev, head of the agricultural holding Kazyna, however, told a local news outlet Karavan, that most farmers in the country were discouraged with the new programme.

He stressed that only about 30 farms with 2% of cattle population actually matched the government requirements so they are able to apply for the state subsidies. This could bring certain problems, because small producers with no state aid would reduce production performance. This, in turn, could lead to the shortage of beef at the domestic market.

Related topics: Others, Industry & Markets, Beef

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