Contracts signed with the Chinese company DRex Food Group Co have indicated that 1,000 tonnes (t) of beef and 1,000t of poultry could be delivered from Belarus to China in the next few months.
While ZAO Meat and Dairy Company does have its own meat production capacity, it also acts as an official ‘exporter’ on behalf of the whole of the country’s meat industry. At present, Veles Meat and Mogylevsky Meat Processing Plant are the only meat producers authorised to export products to China. However, Belarus’ Ministry of Agriculture anticipates that, by mid-2018, five poultry producers will be allowed to export products to the Asian market.
Following the signing of the contract, Dai Shiwei, general director of DRex Food Group Co, said he was confident that Belarus products would be in high demand in the Chinese market.
Farm planned for Vitebsk
The meat deal is the next step in the expanding cooperation between DRex Food Group Co and Belarus, which began in December 2017 with the signing of a US$50.8 million contract for the export of dried dairy products from Belarus to China.
According to the investment agreement concluded together with the meat deal, DRex Food Group Co has also pledged to build a livestock farm in Vitebsk Oblast, designed for 50,000 head of cattle, with the total investment value of the project expected to be around US$400m.
Belarus has become the first country in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region approved to export meat to China, the Ministry of Agriculture stressed in a release on its website. The country’s President Alexander Lukashenko and China President Xi Jinping first agreed to expand agricultural trade between the two countries during an official visit by a Chinese government delegation to Belarus in May 2017.
China drives up Belarus meat export performance
Given all the contracts signed to date, Belarus plans to export agricultural products worth a total value of US$6bn in 2018, compared to only US$5bn in 2017, according to Leonid Zayats, the country’s Agriculture Minister.
Of this figure, meat and dairy products worth a total of some US$114m would be supplied to China, Zayats added. Belarus was approved to export its meat to China in December 2017, while a similar permission on dairy products had been achieved several months earlier.
In addition to poultry and beef, Belarus plans to launch exports of “processed meat products with a higher added value”, revealed the Ministry.
Belarus’ meat exports totalled US$800m in 2017, while dairy products amounted to US$2bn last year, according to estimates from Alexay Bogdanov, chief of the international affairs department at the Ministry.
Belarus has been exporting its food products to 60 countries around the world, including meat products to 18 countries. The opening of the Chinese market is considered as a very important milestone for the country’s agriculture industry, stressed Bogdanov.