Shall we treat them with this stuff?
27/06/2002, Ilya Polevoy
Kazakhstan casts its glances at the world market with an increasing interest. In particular, at the cattle breeding production market. Nevertheless, the officials do not worry too much about the safety of their own country.
We started talking about a possibility to sell our meat, milk, wool, long before today. This discovery was made when the mad cows raged in Europe and it needed high quality meat and milk desperately. For that moment we could not offer anything, but the "meat" crisis opened our eyes: if we were faster or more economical, we could realise all our export abilities, earning a lot of money.
The Western European market is quite limited. Cattle breeding industry of Netherlands, Great Britain, Germany overcame their fevers, won cow madness and murrain and the export demand became paltry. Kazakhstan's strategy had to be different. And they understand it in the ministry of agriculture. First of all we must offer our products to the closest neighbours - our economic situation is positive, transport costs are minimal, - and then, if it's possible, we should break on through to Arabic countries market.
Who will deal with all this? You can't lease them to some John Doe the farmer …
Exactly with this purpose - to bring animal industry into order and create conditions for its development, last autumn the "Cattle breeding corporation" was created with a 100 per cent state share holding.
It was supposed that the new CJSC would fulfill a few roles at once. The first one was to be the stabilising one. It was the main role - to stabilise the situation at the home market. The point is that the buyers of the cattle breeding products very often reduce the prices to the lowest minimum, which makes the producers suffer: sometimes they hardly manage to survive. The second role was reanimation. " Cattle breeding corporation " was charged with the reconstruction of the agricultural production. The reconstruction was its painful moment since the Soviet times. The third role was attacking one. The search of sales market abroad - that was the business for the new corporation. According to the agricultural authorities' calculations, already in the nearest future Kazakhstan would be able to export up to 4 thousand tons of lamb, 4.5 thousand tons of beef, 3.5 thousand tons of wool.
"It is necessary to show the Kazakhstani meat quality to the whole world!" - everybody, who's got to do with our export future, has this idea nowadays.
However, this optimism is not shared by the cattle breeders and scientists. It is understandable - they know all problems quite well. The agrarian analysts are alarmed: the number of bloodstock in the total amount of cattle and fowl decreases every year. And if this tendency is not transcended, the stocks in a few years will consist of genetically degraded animals that will not comply with the standards of nutritional state, fatness and milking. What if all our aspirations on the world markets are but unreal ambitions?
Besides, the veterinary audits show that there is a lot of sick cattle in the country. For example, only in Kostanai oblast 577 head with TB and 164 head with brucellosis were registered. And there is no guarantee that the contaminated meat will not reach the market. In Kostanai money was discovered - 35 million tenge - for organising a purchase of the infected animals meat for the market prices. After that the meat was used for tinned food - it is believed that a deep thermal treatment is able to destroy the pathogenic organisms. In Kzylorda, where a scandal with the infected meat occurred about two weeks ago, only 50 per cent of the value of the infected meat were compensated. And there is absolutely no guarantee that the brucellar cows have been slaughtered and their meat destroyed.
Well, they do not pay too much attention to our people's health in our country to say the least. That is exactly why according to the results of the last year, Kazakhstan took the second place among the CIS countries in brucellosis contamination. Only in Aktobe oblast, which is the most unfortunate in this respect, in 2001 75 people were infected by brucellosis through meat and milk of cows, sheep and goats. This year the sad statistics have been already opened: in the first quarter in Kargalin, Irgiz and Hobdin districts, three cases of brucellosis were registered.
However, the government understands the problem, it defined the guidelines and this is not too bad. For the first time in the last few years for the cattle breeding production purchase a loan in the amount of 100 million tenge was allotted by the budget. This year the "Cattle breeding corporation" received 500 million tenge more for the resolution of the most urgent (see above) problems that had appeared when it had been estblished. Nevertheless, the most important is that the government issued and approved the Rules of funds payment for miantenance and development of elite seed-farming and livestock breeding. In particular, the state subsidies were intended for the partial reduction of value of the young livestock, producers seed; reimbursement of the cost of the scanty and disappearing livestock animals, purchased for forming collection herds; for reimbursement of costs for the maintenance of the sire bulls in the livestock centres of livestock bulls; for reimbursement of costs of the special technological equipment for livestock breeding. To put it simply, the agricultural producers with the active state support can buy the livestock production and receive bigger income. The state subsidies for the young livestock animals today make 50 per cent of its cost. The scheme is very simple - the farms buy the livestock production, provide the necessary documents into the territorial unit of ministry of agriculture, the regional state inspector makes a summary act, the oblast structures check the correctness of the documents registration, ministry of agriculture defines the volumes of budget money and transfers them to the accounts of the buyers of livestock production.
It is all great. But there are several restrictive factors. First of all, a simple farmer can not use such scheme - the state subsidies are provided only for the cattle breeding subjects certified as per the established order. In the second place the quotas are defined for them. But the most important - not all cattle breeders know about this initiative of the state. Moreover, the Program is valid only for 2002.
If such programs will be brought forward is under big doubt. If it is a single action, the it is unlikely that it will bring the expected results. Actually, this work has to be long term and well planned to create solid gene pool and collection herds. This is the case, when the current investments have to fully pay back. We must not be greedy, counting each penny. But it wouldn't be excessive to control the "distribution of elephants". Sometimes they steal quite passionately here …