According to chairman of the Russian National Sheep Union, Charon Amerhanov, the decline in the number of sheep and goats observed in Russia in recent years has been stopped. For the last 10 years, Russia has been able to increase its sheep numbers from 14.8 million head in 1999 to more than 22 million head in 2009. By 2020, it should amount to 27 million heads with the production of mutton in slaughter weight to 220,000 tons.
However, the lack of industrial slaughterhouses and primary processing enterprises remain the major problems of the Russian sheep industry. Most of the meat is still supplied to the Russian retail industry from private homemade slaughterhouses established around major cities making the Russian mutton and lamb unable to compete with the Australian and New Zealand lamb, which is still in demand in Russia despite its high prices.
Analysts said one way to solve this problem is to implement the state program "Development of primary processing of livestock in 2010-2012" under which the Russian government will make huge investments in the construction of several large enterprises for sheep and cattle processing with a total capacity of 420,000 tons of meat a year.
Reprinted in part from meatinternational.com