Ukraine increases meat exports by 1.5 times this year

By Eugene Vorotnikov

- Last updated on GMT

The Ukraine meat export market has seen strong growth since the start of 2017
The Ukraine meat export market has seen strong growth since the start of 2017

Related tags Ukraine Russia Livestock Poultry

Meat exports from Ukraine have increased by 1.5 times this year to US$397 million in value terms, with the country shedding its previous reliance on Russian markets.

A report from the Ukraine Institute of Agrarian Economics, which looked at year-on-year sales for January-September, said the biggest growth in overseas sales was in the poultry segment, where exports for the first nine months of the current year grew by 38.2% in value terms year-on-year to US$294.86m. In volume terms, Ukraine poultry exports alone amounted to 212,052 tonnes, according to data from the Ukraine State Fiscal Service.

The increase marks a significant success for the Ukraine industry, which, prior to 2015, had relied on Russia for the majority of its export sales. With the collapse of relations between Ukraine and Russia after Moscow annexed the Crimea and supported pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014, almost all Ukraine meat exports were re-directed to different foreign markets.

Among the largest markets for Ukraine meat this year were Egypt (buying 17.1% of total supplies), the Netherlands (14.3%), Iraq (8.8%), Belarus (8.4%) and Azerbaijan (7.6%).

The Ukraine government hopes to further increase meat exports next year and has said it hopes to boost domestic production to create excess supplies. Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman told a Ukraine ministerial meeting on 1 November that his government especially wanted to grow beef and poultry output, increasing the stability of supplies to the domestic market, as well as boosting exports.

Groysman said: “Our main task is to increase the capacities of the domestic livestock complex, cattle breeding as well as poultry industry. Today we are a really serious meat exporter in the global market. A further increase in production should help to raise exports and create conditions for a reduction in domestic meat prices.”

Beef is a key export focus as domestic demand in Ukraine is weak. However, here sales to Western markets have been limited by difficulties in obtaining import permits from potential buyers and their regulators.

Vitaly Bashinsky, a senior Ukraine consultant from the Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO), told GlobalMeatNews the differences between the Ukraine system of registering and identifying livestock and such systems used in the European Union (EU) remained a major obstacle for exporting Ukrainian beef to the EU. In addition, Ukraine still needs to persuade the EU of its status as a country free from bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

A spokesman for Ukraine’s Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food said negotiations with EU veterinary authorities were ongoing, to secure permissions for Ukraine beef to enter Europe from Ukraine. He hoped the necessary permits would be provided to Ukraine farmers in early 2018.

Andrei Yarmak, senior economist from the FAO’S technical cooperation department, said Ukraine’s beef exports to all countries could generate annual receipts for Ukraine beef farmers of about US$500 million.

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