To ensure the needs of the farms in terms of feed, the authorities will allocate 2,000 hectares (ha) of irrigated land and 17,000ha of pasture land. The meat processing plant will be located in the industrial zone of Ordabasy in the Baidibek district of South Kazakhstan and will cover an area of 5ha. The processing unit may also receive cattle from third parties to slaughter and process in accordance with Muslim rules.
“One of the main specifications of the new complex is that it will mainly focus on exports of beef products to Muslim countries, due to the fact that it will have halal certification,” said a statement from the administration of the South Kazakhstan Oblast. “This will enable local agricultural companies, including private farmers, to sell their products for export at a higher price.”
Yerkebulan Akhmetov, head of the department for the production and processing of animal products at the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan, said: “There are currently a lot of medium-sized, small and large farms in Kazakhstan engaged in livestock growth and breed improvements. Co-operation will open up sales opportunities for them. As a result, farmers can increase production and thus profits.”
Until now, AMK Metal has not been involved in the meat industry in Kazakhstan; it purchases metallurgical products from local company JSC ArcelorMittal Temirtau to the tune of US$400 million per year. Investment in the new complex will amount to US$30m.
Representatives of the company in Kazakhstan were not available to comment on the project, but a spokesperson for the regional agricultural department explained that the UAE company’s decision is connected primarily with the high investment potential of Kazakhstan’s beef industry.
Self-sufficient in beef
Government officials explained that the country was currently self-sufficient in beef, so it could explore the potential for exports. It has been suggested that the country should focus on the production of organic and halal meats.
“Agricultural exports could be an important means of developing the economy,” said Asset Issekeshev, Minister for Investment and Development in Kazakhstan. “The main emphasis could be placed on high-quality organic food. Kazakhstan could command an important niche [in the international market] in this sector.”
It is believed that Kazakhstan’s recent accession as a member of the World Trade Organization in 2015 could be connected to its outlook on the expansion of meat exports. A spokesperson for the country’s Agriculture Ministry said: “The Ministry of Agriculture has already started negotiations on deliveries of meat to China, Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is also supported by the fact that nine regions of the country were declared free from foot-and-mouth disease last year.”