ASTANA – The village of Lepsi in the Almaty Region hosted an annual animal breeding exhibition on June 15-17. The Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society (AACS) was invited to participate by Kazakhstan’s National Chamber of Angus, following on from the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two parties late last year. AACS President, Angus Stovold, shared his expert opinion on the cooperation prospects in an interview with The Astana Times.
Stovold, who has been involved in breeding for over 30 years and is the senior partner of the family farm business established in 1880, was a judge in a competition for the best breed.
According to Stovold, the Aberdeen Angus breed was established in the UK 200 years ago to raise easy, fleshy, prolific cattle that produced beef of exceptional taste.
“It is not an accident that it is the number one beef breed in the world. Recognized by farmers, processors, retailers, chefs, and the consumer as the best beef, the Aberdeen Angus can adapt to any farming condition, be it dry, wet, hot, cold, lush, or sparse, and convert that to highly desirable meat,” he said.
Stovold added low production costs facilitate the farmer’s work while market recognition helps the rest of the industry.
Angus cattle imported to Kazakhstan, he said, were imported from all over the world, but have yet to come from the UK.
“We are very keen to change this,” he said at the exhibition, citing the recent removal of regulatory barriers to the import of bovine genetic material to Kazakhstan last summer. “Great progress has been made between our ministries and we are now in the final stages of removing the regulatory barriers to importing breeding cattle and embryos”.
According to him, the memorandum of understanding signed between Kazakhstan’s chamber and the AACS will facilitate the import of live animals and breeding genetic material. It also gives Kazakhstan’s livestock breeders access to proven individual breeders and genetic companies in the UK.
“The memorandum was signed on Nov. 30 last year in London at the House of Lords hosted by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne on behalf of the UK Government,” said Stovold.
He suggested the diversity of seed stock and the superior genetics offered by the UK would help Kazakh farmers to achieve desired results quickly. He said he sought to assess such needs more accurately during his first visit to Kazakhstan.
“The benefits of cooperation will allow the National Chamber of Angus to develop elite herds among its members using genetics which are suited to the different production systems in Kazakhstan,” he said, adding that the UK has the broadest possible variety of Aberdeen Angus genetics, suited to any world production systems.
During the exhibition, Stovold expressed optimism about the prospects for cooperation between the two countries.
“The UK is the motherland of Aberdeen Angus cattle, and it is a great pleasure to see how well the breed is suited to life in Kazakhstan – so far away from its native land,” said Stovold.
Farmers from all over Kazakhstan, as well as guests from the United States, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Türkiye, the Czech Republic and Romania attended the exhibition.