With the current annual supply volume standing at 10,000–11,000 tonnes (t), Russian industry participants expect Mongolia will aim to achieve exports of 100,000t-110,000t, allowing it to become at least one of the largest suppliers of this type of meat to the Russian market.
Previously Mongolia was a large exporter of beef to Russia, but deliveries were banned in 2010 after several outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the country, and Mongolia was not able to restore supplies even when the ban was lifted.
"Mongolian businesses are very interested in achieving a rapid increase in beef supplies to Russia," said Alexei Alexeenko, assistant manager of Russian veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor. "The Mongolians are ready to supply our market with products to the maximum possible level."
Representatives from the regional departments of Rosselkhoznadzor said the first shipments of beef from Mongolia were almost ready.
"Slaughter [of cattle for the supply to Russia] is already in progress and Russian veterinary specialists are controlling compliance with all our hygiene standards," said Roman Krupennikov, head of Rosselkhoznadzor’s border veterinary control department for Irkutsk Oblast and the Republic of Buryatia.
Russian market participants say Mongolian beef may partly replace supplies from Brazil and other South American countries as it will offer more attractive prices, due to lower outlay on logistics.
"The amount of 100,000t is about 15-20% of the total volume of Russian beef imports," said chairman of the Russian Meat Union Moushegh Mamikonian. "Today about 80% of beef imports to Russia come from Latin America. Mongolia is located much closer to Russia, so it is much more profitable to work with this country. In particular, for companies located in the Urals, supplies from Mongolia would be more convenient in terms of logistics.
"Deliveries in such volumes will be a good step in the diversification of import flows. At the same time, pastoral [rearing of cattle] provides meat with less fat and, in terms of food hygiene, this is an obvious advantage of the Mongolian products," he added.
At the same time, representatives from the Russian National Meat Association (NMA) doubt that Mongolia can become a large beef supplier to Russia in the years ahead. According to the NMA’s head Sergei Yushin, Russian meat-processing plants use mostly boneless beef and Mongolia may not provide the products the country’s plants are ready to work with.
At the same time, the NMA’s head of the department of animal husbandry and veterinary medicine Eugene Lapinsky said there were still concerns about the veterinary control over beef from Mongolia, as the contamination of beef from that country with various infections is high.