Gulmira Isaeva, deputy Agricultural Ministry of Kazakhstan, told a government meeting in late November that Kazakhstan meat producers are undergoing inspection by Chinese veterinary authorities, and suggested the first exports to China should take place by the end of 2016.
“We see rising demand for organic meat [in China] and China is cooperating with Kazakhstan in this field on a priority basis. We are discussing supplies of organic and ecological meat. We will deliver between 50,000t and 60,000t of beef and 300,000t of lamb. These figures come from the total capacities of meat-processing facilities which have applied for approval for export to China,” Isaeva said.
Kazakhstan experienced a steady rise in meat production over the past year, she said. The country’s initial impetus for development of the country’s organic meat industry came with the adoption of a bill covering organic products on January 11, 2016.
Organic growth opportunity
There is huge potential for additional growth in organic production because Kazakhstan has large areas of natural pastures and all the relevant infrastructures, Isaeva explained.
Speaking at a separate press conference in late November, Timur Nurashev, deputy head of the industrial development committee of Kazakhstan Agricultural Ministry, indicated that Kazakhstan now accounts for 300,000ha of agricultural land certified as organic. The country accounts for third place in Asia in terms of agricultural area fit for manufacturing of organic products, he suggested.
During 2016, the country exported organic products worth a total value of $10m, and established three organic export brands, including one for organic meat products to China, Russia and Iran, Nurashev stated. Promoting organic products should become the main export strategy of Kazakhstan in the coming years, he suggested.
Anthrax remains a challenge
Early in 2016, Kazakhstan Agricultural Ministry issued a forecast that the country would establish the large-scale export of meat, mainly beef, of up to 60,000t. Of that, 15,000t to 20,000t was expected to be supplied to Russia, with the remaining amount to China, where approval for export was expected in July-August.
However, these plans were scuppered by outbreaks of anthrax in four regions of Kazakhstan in June. The outbreaks claimed the lives of two local citizens in the Karaganda region, caused collapse of sales in the domestic market, and halted exports. Despite the fact Kazakhstan has since vaccinated all livestock and declared that it has defeated the disease, it remains a challenge for the development potential of meat exports.
According to Kenzebek Sautov, spokesperson for the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the problem is that Chinese veterinary services no longer trust the country’s laboratories. Sautov added China request veterinary approval of Russian laboratories on products applied for export to China. At the same time, the anthrax outbreak has exposed the lack of agreed veterinary standards between Kazakhstan and China, he added.
Despite the continued anthrax challenge, Kazakhstan is still expecting strong organic meat export growth.