One of the biggest expansions in Aberdeen Angus cattle numbers is happening in a country which many would not associate with cattle production. It is Kazakhstan in central Asia, which has an active breed association which has been importing AA genetics from far and wide over the past 10 years. Over the past year we have been working at opening the market for UK exports of semen, embryos and ultimately live cattle to Kazakhstan. This culminated in a visit from 22 June to 1 July 2022 of a group of 8 prominent landowners/businessmen/farmers, together with the chief executive of the Kazakhstan Angus Chamber – Dauren Salykov. We organised the programme with our Embassy in Kazakhstan, and the Department of International Trade in London. Although they visited other businesses in the UK, eg JCB, the tour was very much focussed on their interest in developing a large beef industry based on Aberdeen Angus and the fact that they have already imported many thousands of animals from the US , Australia and other countries.
The tour began at the Highland Show with an international reception and the Aberdeen Angus judging. They then visited breeders and commercial operations using Aberdeen Angus – around southern Scotland and the Borders and into Southern England. Also an ET centre that can work with them to use embryos as a way of importing genetics. This gave them a sense of the types of cattle we are breeding and the systems of production.
The tour ended at the Presidents herd in Surrey, and concluded at a roundup meeting with UK Trade officials and the Chief Executive. Key achievements of the visit:
- They were well impressed with the quality of the cattle they saw in the ‘home of the breed’
- Since the visit of our UK vet Rob Grinnal to Kazakhstan in March to help negotiate export health certificates, and now their visit here; we now can export semen , and very soon embryos. Live animals will be a little way off, but that is their objective. There will be a semen order later in the year.
- We have agreed a memorandum of understanding with the Kazakh Angus Chamber for long term cooperation.
- A Society delegation has been invited to visit Kazakhstan next May – to their main Livestock Show.
It may seem a far flung market to be putting so much effort into – but our exports to our neighbours have been curtailed since Brexit. Any exports to the Continent still have to go via Ireland. We have to look further afield for trade; hence this major investment in promoting our breed in Kazakhstan .
Robert Whitcombe. Chair Export Committee