Ukrainian beef industry looks to make gains, November 2017Ukrainian beef industry looks to make gains, November 2017

24 November, 2017

The First Ukrainian Beef Congress gathered more than 100 farmers, processors, investors and industry experts today in Kiev. The event was held within the framework of the Ukrainian Food Expo and organized by FAO and the EBRD jointly with the Ukrainian Food Export Board and the Association of Milk Producers.

The Congress reflected on three years of work under the Public-Private Meat Policy Dialogue Project and centred on a roadmap to success, and specifically the meat export manual, the business plan for cattle finishing in feedlots and the business plan for beef slaughter and processing.

At the event a discussion on greener and more sustainable beef also took place. New technologies and increased efficiencies can help not only the livestock industry, but the agriculture sector in general, in lowering emissions while ensuring food security.

According to Ukraine’s Deputy Minister for Agricultural Policy and Food, Olga Trofimtseva, beef production is considered by the Ministry as one of the most promising sectors in the country’s agriculture, despite rather modest production volumes.

Opening the event she said, “I am sure that the focus of the agricultural policies including the state-supported programs on animal husbandry combined with world demand and our competitive advantages will soon give tangible results in both the beef and dairy sectors."

“We do understand the importance of the beef sector, not only on its own but as a possible accelerator for other complimentary sectors with value added. High-quality beef made in Ukraine sold all over the world in supermarkets or restaurants and recognized by its brand is our goal,” she added.

Bringing competitive advantages

According to Andriy Yarmak, an FAO economist working on dairy and meat sector projects in Ukraine, the prospects for Ukrainian beef producers are very promising. Ukrainian prices for feed grain and protein meals are among the lowest in the world and the country is much closer to major beef markets in the Middle East and North Africa than its current suppliers. Until recently the link missing to build an efficient value chain had been knowledge, but this is now developing.

The Ukrainian cattle sector is driven by the dairy industry. Each year around 1 million dairy bulls are slaughtered without being fattened to beef conditions. Advanced grain-based feeding and processing technologies combined with exports could help farmers raise the revenue from USD 1.5 to USD 3.5 per 1 kilogram of live weight.

"Beef is the greatest niche of Ukraine’s agribusiness – with annual revenues under USD 100 million it could potentially be brought up to USD 2 billion without increasing herds," he says. "Today we are providing our farmers with detailed technological and marketing roadmaps based on the best global practices fully adopted to Ukrainian conditions and proven by calculations.”

He also added that, “increased beef production in the country would reduce pollution due to decreased transportation of feed grains and oil meals, which are currently being exported from Ukraine in large volumes but in the future will be used to feed livestock. Nevertheless, greener livestock production is suggested and the possible follow up activities of FAO and the EBRD would focus on these aspects.”

Knowledge opens doors

Over the past three years, FAO and the EBRD’s export promotion teams have been involved in market studies to help Ukraine diversify its exports. Based on the results of these, detailed export guidelines are now available for anyone interested in exporting meat and dairy products. Export promotion activities have included training to industry associations in export promotion, and assistance in organizing trade missions and facilitating negotiations with prospective buyers.

“Our goal is to help industry associations and leading players learn all the peculiarities of each critical step leading to successful and systematic exports,” said Vasyl Hovhera, Economist and Project Coordinator from the EBRD. “We always emphasize that learning is a never-ending process,” he added.

Inclusive value chains

Since none of the dairy farmers would have an economically sufficient number of bulls, cooperation among them in creating larger feedlots as well as slaughter facilities is the most efficient approach. FAO and the EBRD have supported the development of new draft legislation to enable transparent and efficient cooperation.

Since more than 50 percent of dairy cattle is held by non-commercial household producers, FAO and the EBRD have developed a strategy to include them in this profitable value chain. This includes granting households access to veterinary services and enabling the artificial insemination of their cows by meat-breed semen from feedlot cooperatives, selling bulls back to them, thereby gaining significant additional revenues while maintaining animal health. 

For more information on agriculture in Ukraine, watch a video here

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EastAgri is supported by FAO, EBRD, and The World Bank