U. S. Ambassador Sheila Gwaltney visited the Chabrets cattle farm in Chui oblast, one of the farms that received purebred Angus cattle imported in 2013 under the USAID Economic Development Fund Program. The program, administered in close cooperation with the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, provided Chabrets with 50 heads of Angus cattle and modern agricultural machinery valued at $1 million. The farm is repaying the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic for the equipment and cattle under a special long-term loan arrangement.
Ambassador Gwaltney toured the farm learning about the results exhibited by the high-performing Angus cattle. According to the chief herd manager of the farm, Irina Zueva, the growth rate of the Angus cattle, which are selected especially for their high quality meat, is much higher than that of domestic breeds.
“They gain weight very fast. If other breeds gain about 1.6 kg per day, Angus cattle gain about 2 kg,” said Zueva. She also noted that because these cattle come from a mountainous region of the United States, they are well suited for the climatic conditions of Kyrgyzstan.
The farm built a new facility to house the cattle, which produced 35 purebred Angus calves in the first year. They are anticipating the second generation of calves to be born before the end of this year, further expanding the herd.
The owner of the farm, Andrey Rodikov, believes production of meat is a national priority, and by utilizing modern breeds like the Angus, the country can better utilize its vast pasture resources and develop profitable meat exports to neighboring countries.
“Development of meat production requires new markets. But the country does not have modern certified slaughterhouses. Exporting meat to neighboring countries requires such slaughterhouses and modern labs. So we are looking for opportunities to build one here,” said Radikov.
Another important investment for the company was the agricultural machinery provided through the program, including a new combine produced by the industry-leading U. S. company John Deere. Rodikov noted that the combine has allowed his company to expand its corn production significantly in order to feed its rapidly growing cattle herd.
“We think that Kyrgyzstan has a lot of economic opportunities. And we all, including our USAID team, would like for private business to grow and create more job opportunities. This is very important and you and your farm show that it is possible,” noted Ambassador Gwaltney during a discussion with the farm staff.
Nationwide, the USAID Economic Development Fund Program has provided $20 million in support for the agricultural sector of the Kyrgyz Republic over the period 2010 to 2014, including advanced agricultural equipment, elite seed for cereal grains and potatoes, and purebred cattle.