Russia set to develop meat production in Crimea
New investors in the region plan to attract about US$5bn to these three areas, including about US$1bn on the development of the meat industry over the next three to four years.
Crimea already has a fairly strong meat industry. According to official statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Ukraine, about 180,000 tonnes (t) of meat were produced in Crimea in 2013 – about 3% higher than a year earlier.
In Crimea, the cattle population was 162,100 head as of the beginning of 2014, which is 13.9% more than a year ago. In addition, on the peninsula, total agricultural animal stocks included 220,000 head of pigs, 290,000 head of sheep and goats and 10.3 million head of birds.
"Crimea is a major producer of poultry meat – we are producing about 8% of all poultry in Ukraine," said Mykola Kavalenko, deputy minister of Agrarian Policy and Food in Crimea.
"Also, according to experts, if we focus on the Russian market, then our meat industry could face very good prospects, especially producers of beef and mutton. These livestock sectors are developing rapidly in Crimea, while in Russia, for example, the beef industry is in recession, and this kind of meat is in short supply."
In addition, local experts say Crimea will receive a powerful impetus for the development of the meat industry, as the peninsula will receive the status of ‘special economic zone’, with preferential taxation for local businesses.
"It is clear now, that the heavy investment in the peninsula’s economy and giving it the status of a special economic zone will be extremely beneficial for all types of local businesses. Profitability in poultry or beef production here is already higher than the national [Russian] average, and now it will become even higher," said Alexei Gogolev, an expert with analytical agency Meat Information.
However, experts warn that the availability of such attractive investment conditions in Crimea could play havoc with the Russian meat industry.
"Some business, of course, will be diverted here, but that would also mean it would leave the mainland, where investment activity in the meat industry is now falling significantly. As a result, we can predict that any new projects in meat production development in Russia in the years ahead is unlikely to be implemented anywhere other than Crimea," he added.