Kazakhstan sees meat exports grow amid currency devaluation
This trend is expected to continue in 2015, resulting from a weakening of the Kazakhstan’s national currency, the tenge, against both the US dollar and the euro.
"This is the first time we have reached a volume of 12,000 tonnes (t) for exports of meat and processed meat products. About 7,000t of this is beef. In comparison with 2013, beef exports grew nearly sixfold," said the country’s Minister of Agriculture Asylzhan Mamytbekov.
The minister added that beef imports last year decreased by 42.3% from 24,000t in 2013 to 16,800t in 2014.
"There is also growth in exports of processed meat products. Exports of sausages and canned meat last year increased by ninefold and twofold respectively. This trend has continued this year, despite a disparity in the rates between the Russian ruble and the tenge," added Mamytbekov.
"These macroeconomic indicators are the first positive results from our national ‘Agribusiness-2020’ program, which was initiated in 2013."
Meanwhile, industry observers say exports were also boosted by the devaluation of the tenge, which collapsed against the dollar last year.
The devaluation processes in Russia and Kazakhstan have raised concerns in the meat industries of both countries. A number of Kazakhstan meat producers urged the country’s government to implement restrictions on imports of Russian poultry, as the devaluation of the Russian ruble has brought more competition to Kazakhstan’s poultry farms.
Also, the country’s Agricultural Ministry has disclosed plans to expand the volume of its beef exports and decrease the size of poultry imports within the next three years, due to plans for two new production projects.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture’s press service, the first facility will be created by Astana-based LLC Eurasia Agro Holding, in cooperation with German and Austrian companies. The project allows for the construction of several livestock farms, feed production facilities and a meat processing plant, designed to produce 17,000t of beef per year.
The other project comprises three large poultry farms, with a capacity of 90,000t of chicken meat per year. The project should be implemented by 2018, enabling the country to reduce imports of poultry meat by 50%, compared to the current rate. The total investment cost of both projects is estimated to be KZT200 billion (US$1.06bn).