Russian Expert Sees Potential of Australian Beef

AUSTRALIA - Despite a recent drop in exports the future for Australian beef in the Russian market is still strong, according to the head of the Russian National Meat Association, Sergey Yushin.
calendar icon 8 October 2008
clock icon 3 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

Mr Yushin, who will be visiting Australia in November for Meat and Livestock Association’s (MLA) Meat Profit Day in Orange, is set to provide Australia’s livestock producers with an insider’s view of the emerging Russian meat market.

According to the MLA, Russia has emerged as Australia’s fourth largest beef export market this year, taking 61,405 tonnes during the calendar year to August, of which 7,567 tonnes was exported in August. In comparison, Australia had sent only 942 tonnes to Russia in the year to August last year.

During his visit Mr Yushin will explain how beef consumption in Russia is growing as the economy in that country continues to improve and disposable incomes increase.

"The Russian cattle herd has fallen by over 35 million head since 1990 to now sit at just over 21 million head"
Russian National Meat Association, Sergey Yushin

“During the last five years, according to the official statistics, the average Russian’s income has grown from 125 dollars to more than 500 dollars per month. During this time meat consumption has been strong and growing,” Mr Yushin said.

“The outlook looks bright, with the Russian Ministry of Economy forecasting that by 2020 disposable incomes will grow by 1.8–2.4 times and wages will grow by 1.9–2.9 times.”

Mr Yushin will also provide an overview of the local Russian cattle production industry and explain how limited local supply cannot keep up with demand.

“The Russian cattle herd has fallen by over 35 million head since 1990 to now sit at just over 21 million head,” Mr Yushin said.

Meat & Livestock Australia’s European Regional Manager, David Jones said the future should remain positive for Australian beef exports to Russia.

“Russia is a net importer of meat because local production cannot keep up with demand and this is why Russia will continue to be a key market - and a growing market - for countries that export beef,” Mr Jones said.

“Although the majority of our beef exports are destined for the competitive manufacturing sector, at the higher end of the market, such as five star hotels and fine dining restaurants, Australian beef is the dominant player. This demand has seen high quality chilled beef exports double to nearly 1,000 tonnes in the past 12 months.”

Brazil still holds the majority of the market for imported meat in Russia, with a 51 percent market share this year. In comparison, Australia only accounts for four percent of the imported beef market, making it the fifth biggest exporter of beef to Russia.

Russia has a beef import quota of 473,900 tonnes, 80 percent of which is allocated to the EU. The EU continues to fall substantially short of filling their large quota and only accounts for five percent of Russia’s beef imports so far this year.

Ongoing short term supply difficulties and high prices from South America, the lack of EU exports and continued growth in Russian import demand should see Russia remain an attractive market for Australian beef over the remainder of 2008 and into 2009.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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