Although most forecasts indicate that Kazakhstan’s pig industry is heading for extinction, the Kazakh Union of Pig Farmers has recently adopted a development program targeting a significant increase in production capacities with export opportunities.
In the plan, Russia and China would be the main targets of the exports. By 2025, the Kazakh Union of Pig Farmers hopes to establish pork export of around 100,000 tons per year. With the improved effectiveness and decreased production costs, an export price of around $3.5 per kg would be a great deal for the Kazakhstan pig farmers, said Viktor Lim, chairman of the Kazakhstan Union of Pig Farmers. The plan requires increasing the domestic pig population by 1.2 million head.
Lim spoke about the future of the swine industry in the predominantly Muslim country. He hinted that for Kazakhstan it would be possible to follow a similar path like in India, where people did not eat beef. Yet, Lim said, the country was one of the major exporters of this type of meat on the global market. That is a model Kazakhstan could think about with regard to pigs, he explained.
Adding to the optimism is the 2017 agricultural development program, adopted by the national government, which included some state aid to pig farmers for the first time in many years.
Currently, the picture of pig production is not too rosy. The country’s pig population has gradually been shrinking over the past 2 decades. Although no African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks have been reported, the country’s number of pigs decreased from over 3 million in the early 1990s to just over 800,000 in 2017, as can be seen in our Global Pig Statistics tool.
In 2017, Kazakhstan’s pig industry amounted to 94,000 tons. There were no export supplies at all, and the country even imported 2,400 tons to meet the domestic demand.
The main reason of the general downward trend is related to the population build-up, said Lim. The share of Muslims in Kazakhstan is constantly growing, which means that citizens consume more lamb and horsemeat and less pork. Moreover, the government and banking industry have become less tolerant to the pig industry.
The Kazakh pig business in general is not very productive. He said that in Kazakhstan, sows reached on average 7-9 piglets per sow per year, reaching a production rate of about 1,000 kg/year. On top of that, there is a lack of breeding pigs and the Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) leaves a lot to be desired.
Lim stated that the pig business’ efficiency had to be improved. Progress is underway, as there is a big breeding farm under construction in the country valued at 73 billion tenge ($190 million), which could significantly improve genetic supply in the industry. There is also a surplus of grain on the domestic market, offering plenty of opportunities. (UkrAgroConsult/Business World Magazine)