Poultry would account for almost all the export increase, as the country is continuing to face problems with exporting pork and beef, said market analysts.
Meat imports are falling, amid the continuing drop in the exchange rate of the Ukraine hrivnia and a possible fall in consumption in the country this year. The Ministry forecast said that, in 2015, imports would total 169,000 tonnes (t). This includes imports of pork at 95,000 tonnes (t) – which will be 17.4% lower than in 2014, 50,000t of poultry – reflecting a 21.9% drop on last year’s figure, and 10,000t of beef – 37.5% lower year-on-year.
The forecast also promised that, this year, Ukraine would export 260,000t of meat and poultry compared to 218,000t in 2014. In 2014 the country supplied 175,000t of poultry, 28,000t of beef and 11,000t of pork to foreign markets. This year, it plans to export 210,000t of poultry, 30,000t of beef and 15,000t of pork.
The Ministry of Economic Development forecast also said total meat production in the country this year would grow 1.8% year-on-year to 2.44 million t (mt) against 2.398mt last year, with beef production rising to 410,000t from 409,000t in 2014, pork increasing to 775,000t from 763,000t last year and poultry to 1.21mt from 1.18mt in 2014.
Lack of development for pork and beef exports
Ukraine market analysts and officials noted that the lack of development in pork and beef exports was hampering domestic production in these sectors. Ukraine producers’ greatest hope for exports currently lies in Europe, which Ukraine already supplies with poultry.
According to Vitaly Bashynsky, deputy chairman of the country’s veterinary body, Gosvetfitosluzhby, pork exports are not growing due to a lack of demand for this type of meat in the European Union (EU).
"There is little hope of a rise in pork exports, because self-sufficiency in pork in the EU currently stands at 111%. Supplies of beef, lamb, goat meat and dairy products look more promising," he said.
Meanwhile, representatives from the producers association, the ‘Ukrainian Agribusiness Club’ (UAC), reported that Ukraine would not receive permission to export beef to the EU without research on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle.
"The high purchasing power of Europe and the demand for beef and veal makes this market very attractive for Ukraine. As part of the autonomous trade preferences, Ukraine has a 12,000t per year quota on beef exports. However, in order to launch these, we need to successfully pass the veterinary test on BSE," said the UAC representatives.
"Beef exports to the EU would allow Ukraine to compensate for the losses from the closure of the Russian market, as we already successfully export poultry to this market, and cattle meat also has great potential here. The approval of beef exports to the EU would benefit our country to the tune of US$50 million per year in the first few years and, in future, could become the main driver of growth in our livestock industry," said UAC expert Alina Zharko.