A National Meat Company /NMC/ has been set up in Russia, Aleksei Gordeyev, Russia's Vice Premier and Minister of Agriculture, reported on Wednesday.
According to the official, the company's main purpose is creating the pattern of beef raising in the Tyumen region (southern Siberia) to spread it over other regions of Russia in the perspective.
The NMC's main spheres of activity are the construction of pedigree farms, the recovery of feeding enterprises /out of 400 enterprises of this kind fewer than 10 are operational in Russia now/, the provision of fodder supplies, establishment of modern packing houses.
In particular, the construction of a slaughterhouse in Tyumen on a Belgian credit is under consideration.
According to Gordeyev, in the near future Russia's government intends to increase the meat cattle head more than tenfold, bringing the number of cows to two million.
The recent time has seen the beginning of realisation of a Russian-French joint project to supply pedigree cattle from France, the European Union's biggest meat cattle producer and exporter, to the Tyumen region. In early 2002 France exported there 500 head of cattle. About a hundred head of cattle are yet to be supplied by the end of 2003, with over a thousand head to be exported within 2003.
In compliance with the Agriculture Ministry's information, meat production in 2002 compared with the one in 1990 reduced by over 50 per cent, from 10,1 to 4.6 million tons. Judging by the level of meat consumption, Russia has moved from its seventh place in the world below the seventieth, meat consumption per capita has decreased from 75 kg to 45 kg. Moreover, consumption of import meat totals 16 kg per capita, which implies that every third kilogram of beef, consumed by Russians, has been imported.
The number of cattle head has reduced from 57 to 26.6 million, pigs - from 36.3 to 17 million, sheep and goats - from 58.2 to 10.6 million and poultry from 660 to 345 million.
Gordeyev also pointed out that Russia had good preconditions for development of meat cattle breeding with its 80,000,000 hectares of pastures and hayfields and 30,000,000 hectares of unused arable land. Over 50 per cent of stock buildings, that can be restored, are currently empty, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. Moreover, Russia has a great number of highly qualified personnel.