Pork producers in Kazakhstan have had record-breaking profitability in the past few years, despite continuing pressure from religious groups.
The average profitability of the pig industry in 2021 was 30.5%, the Kazakh Bureau of National Statistics reported.In terms of returns, pig breeding overcame all other livestock segments, including broiler meat production.
Anatoly Zloy, chairman of the Kazakh Union of pig breeders, said that the average margins in the pig industry are currently compared to those in grain production. He added however, that running a pig farm is more sustainable and predictable since the grain market experiences constant price fluctuations. The pork market sees a continuous rise in demand and prices.
In 2022, Kazakhstan produced around 90,000 tonnes of pork, which accounted for 10% of the country’s total meat production.
During the past several years, Kazakh pig farmers complained about the administrative pressure from Muslim religious groups. Among other things, farmers said it was challenging to obtain bank loans and get land under pig farm construction. In addition, new pig farm projects often face resistance from the local population.
Residents’ fears about living near a pig farm are groundless, Ruslan Kukubaev, a veterinarian at the April pig farm in the Karaganda region, told the local press. He recalled that during the construction of the April farm, some residents of nearby settlements voiced fears over its operation. However, these fears gradually winded down when the facility was launched.
“Now, the farm contains 3,000 pigs, and no one complains. There is no stench, no mass of the waste. Modern manure removal systems successfully cope with this.”
If we reorient our pig production to China, the income from our trade operations will be higher than from aluminium and silver export
Kazakhstan can expand pork exports to Russia and China, taking advantage of state aid, Konstantin Shestakov, commercial director of the pig company EMC Agro said. He added that pig farmers recently met with Kazakh Agricultural Minister Yerbol Karashukeev.
“We talked about subsidies, and the state promised to assist us. Because if we reorient our pig production to China, which accounts for 42% of the world’s pork consumption, the income from our trade operations will be higher than from aluminium and silver export.”
Ramping up export is currently seen as a strategic task since it could further give a boost to the pig industry’s profitability, Shestakov said.