Mikhail Rusi, Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus, claimed the country will be able to increase its supplies to Russia in the years ahead by nearly two-and-a-half times – to approximately 250,000 tonnes (t) per year – which will encourage the country’s producers to increase their production capacity.
"We can increase the supply of dairy products by around 150%, meat products and meat by around 140% and potatoes by two times in the coming years," he said.
Supplies to Russia are already rising. According to estimates from Vasily Sedin, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food of the Republic in Belarus, by the end of this year, the country will have increased its supply of meat to Russia by 30%, compared to 2013. "We have all the opportunities available to increase exports. And we will use them," said Sedin.
While Belarus is focusing on increasing poultry and pork production, Kazakhstan is hoping to become Russia’s largest supplier of beef. At a meeting with his Russian counterpart Igor Shuvalov, Kazakhstan’s First Deputy Prime Minister Umirzak Shukeyev promised that, in the next three years, the country’s producers would boost the volume of beef supplies to Russia tenfold.
"Kazakhstan intends to increase its exports of beef to Russia from the current 6,200t to 60,000t in the next three years," he said.
As noted by Shukeyev, the creation of the Common Economic Space means Kazakhstan sees an opportunity to expand its supply of agricultural products to Russia, which could see the country return to being the largest beef supplier to the market.
"Russia imports 1.7mt of beef per year and, in the past, Kazakhstan has supplied the Russian Federation with 350,000t of beef products annually," he said, adding that the current situation gave the country’s meat producers huge opportunities.
He added that Kazakhstan would implement a number of measures to bring its products into compliance with the Russian Federation’s phytosanitary requirements. In turn, Russian authorities have promised to create more flexible access conditions for Kazakhstan products to the Russian domestic market, by eliminating bureaucratic obstacles for Kazakh suppliers.
Experts say the current situation brings opportunities for Belarus and Kazakhstan, not only to increase supplies to Russia, but to improve their margins, as prices on the Russian market for certain types of meat product are 15-40% higher than in the domestic markets of these two countries and are continuing to grow.
"Exports to Russia will be very beneficial for Kazakhstan and Belarus producers, due to a better pricing environment. The prices for meat products in the Russian market are more attractive than in the domestic markets of Kazakhstan and Belarus. Manufacturers are now able to increase the volume of supply and earn good money on it, which will probably encourage them to consider expanding their production capacity," said Russian agricultural analyst Eugene Gerden.