Kazakhstan to expand poultry production in turbulent times

19-03-2020 | | |
Farms are expanded to increase self sufficiently. Photo: Vladislav Vorontikov
Farms are expanded to increase self sufficiently. Photo: Vladislav Vorontikov

Kazakhstan has concrete plans to expand several poultry farms in the country to nearly double the production capacity of the industry, Saparkhan Omarov, Kazakhstan Healthcare Minister said, speaking during a Parliament meeting March 16.

The country increased production by 24.6% to 222,900 tonnes during the past 3 years, reducing dependence on imported poultry, Omarov said. In total, 12 farms are slated to be built or expanded in the next couple of years to increase production by 200,000 tonnes per year, he added. The announcement came amid the strong turbulence seen on the Kazakhstan poultry market because of the continuing Covid-19 epidemic.

Officials estimate that the price for feed additives on the market of the Eurasia Economy Union (EEU) of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan has increased by 20% to 80% during the past several months because of the new coronavirus, the Kazakhstan Union of Poultry Farmers said in a statement posted on its website. Some companies producing feed vitamins in China are located in the regions affected with the virus. Deliveries to the global market are disrupted. The EEU countries have been importing up to 90% of feed vitamins and amino acids with most of these ingredients coming from China.

Import-replacement is urgently needed

Kazakhstan imports almost 50% of poultry to meet its needs on the domestic market and fears that those imports could be disrupted, according to the Healthcare Ministry. The minimal demand for poultry meat is 7,700 tonnes, while Kazakhstan produces 28,900 tonnes, Omarov said. Rough estimations show that the country would have enough reserves to last for 4 to 5 months, he added.

For the most part, Kazakhstan is self-sufficient in all food products including, meal, rice, beef, lamb and horse meat, Omarov said. The country has an emergency stock of 1.2 million tonnes of products of social importance in its warehouses and this should be enough to meet the demand on the domestic market for the next 5 to 6 months, Omarov said. Since 15 March food retailers in several cities of Kazakhstan reported about a panic on the food market, as customers were buying as much products as they could, leaving shelves empty. This occurred amid rumours spreading across local social media networks that some products, including poultry might be in short supply in the next weeks due to coronavirus.

Some food retailers in Russia and Belarus have also faced similar situations with skyrocketing demand for certain product categories. The panic on the food market would not lead to anything good, commented Omarov, calling citizens to not panic because of the coronavirus.

Vladislav Vorotnikov Eastern European correspondent