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Pig breeding drives growth for Russia's meat industry

Pig breeding became a major driver for the growth of the Russian meat industry in 2018, according to recent statistics.

15 February 2019, at 9:30a.m.

The remarks were made by an official spokesman for the Russian National Union of Swine Breeders (NSS), which unites leading Russian piggery companies and local agricultural analysts, when speaking to The Pig Site on 5 February 2019.

This assessment is confirmed by official statistics from the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, according to which pork production in Russia grew by 7-8 percent during 2018, and amounted to more than 3.7 million tonnes in slaughter weight.

This was the highest growth rate of all sectors of the Russian meat market for 2018.

Sergey Yushin, head of the executive committee of the NSS, told The Pig Site via his representative on 7 February 2019 that he expects the growth of the Russian pork market to continue and will be expand by 9-11 percent.

According to Yushin, current prices for pork in Russia remain high, which helps producers to stay afloat even amid ever-growing production costs. According to the NSS’s predictions, by 2022 annual pork output in Russia will have increased by a further 1.1 million tonnes to reach 4 million tonnes. As far as domestic prices are concerned, the association’s experts predict they will gradually decline throughout the year, due to a high level of market competition in Russia.

The country’s leading pork producers currently include the companies Miratorg, AgroPromkomplektatsiya and Cherkizovo. Last year some of Russia’s major players successfully completed the implementation of large-scale investment projects and this year are ready to further expand their production capacities.

For example, AgroPromkomplektatsiya, based in the Moscow region, сompleted the expansion of its pig breeding facilities in the Kursk region at the end of 2018, which resulted in an increase of its overall annual production capacity to 200,000 tonnes.

As for Cherkizovo, according to recent statements from the company, it plans to expand its existing pork production sites, located in the Lipetsk and Penza regions, which will help to increase its annual production to 170,000 tonnes.

And Rusagro, another leading pork producer, is planning to further develop its capacity in the far-eastern region of Primorye.

In the meantime, according to the NSS, increasing pressure from the state remains one of the major obstacles to further developing the pig-breeding industry in Russia. Among the barriers to progress Sergey Yushin cited a high level of bureaucracy and an ever-growing tax burden on the industry.

Yushin added that tightening environmental legislation in Russia has also led to additional costs for producers. An example of this is the recent transition of Russian meat enterprises to the best available techniques (BAT) policy, the main goal of which is to drastically reduce the environmental damage of all industries – including pig production – in European countries.

Yushin said: “The actual idea is good, however its interpretation and the absence of transitional terms may create additional problems for domestic pig producers.”