Russia has spent about $8 billion over the last four years importing breeding cattle to establish a domestic beef and milk industry, but the spending has had little effect, the Vancouver Sun reports.
Last year, Russia produced just half of the three million tons of beef consumed domestically, and domestic production was down significantly compared 2000 figures. Meanwhile, national milk production was up only 1% from 2007 despite the federally financed importation since 2005 of 100,000 head of breeding cattle from Australia and Europe.
The animals were meant to be the foundation of a national dairy and beef herd that would not only make Russia self-sufficient in meat and milk products but give it the ability to export.
One reason the scheme failed is Russia’s lack of a cultural history in beef production, the Sun article says. For another, Russia’s farmers are more used to dealing in poultry and swine, where the payback on production is quicker. Thus, the infrastructure to accommodate the imported animals wasn’t in place while the breeding stock was being imported.
Still, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Victor Zubkov recently announced another $2.6 billion in spending to provide small family farms with milk herds of about 100 animals with the aim of supplying local markets, the Sun says.