THE Russian Government is interested in adapting Australia's National Livestock Identification System (NLIS), according to the company behind the latest Elders cattle shipment to Russia.
Adelaide-based Expo-Trade general manager Greg Dyner said the Russian Agriculture Ministry was looking favourably into Australia's NLIS, which was considered one of the best identification systems in the world.
Expo-Trade has coordinated a visit by Russian specialists to Australia to learn about NLIS. There are currently no livestock identification standards in Russia.
Mr Dyner said Australian veterinary specialists in the fields of animal husbandry, veterinary science, cattle breeding and genetics, would travel to Russia in the near future.
The specialists will share their expertise with Russian farmers and government organisations and assist them in creating new, up-to-date livestock management standards.
Mr Dyner viewed the Russian project as long-term and complex.
"Expo-Trade is very committed to this project and sees enormous opportunities not only for itself but for other Australian companies interested in rebuilding the Russian agricultural industry," he said.
Expo-Trade began exporting to Russia in 1999 - the same year the company was established.
The company has doubled its exports every year, with more than A$45 million worth of products exported to Russia since 1999.
Respected business journal Business Review Weekly named Expo-Trade third among the 100 fastest-growing companies in Australia in 2003.
Expo-Trade managing director Larissa Vakulina was also nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year - Central Region.
Expo-Trade exports Australian hard frozen meats (beef, mutton, lamb) on a monthly basis.
The company opened the Russian market to Australian lambskins and sheepskins in 2003 and is a leading exporter of skins to that country.
Due to growing demand in Russia for Australian agricultural products, Expo-Trade opened branch offices in Russian cities St.Petersburg in 2004 and Moscow shortly after.
Mr Dyner said the process, which resulted in the Elders cattle shipment to Russia, started more than a year ago when Expo-Trade started to investigate the possibility of exporting Australian fresh, chilled meats to Russia.
The company subsequently discovered there was the potential for exports of Australian livestock.
At the same time, the Russian Government was developing a national plan for rebuilding Russian agriculture.
Mr Dyner said the Russian Federal Government had made it a priority to begin the overhaul of the livestock industry.
Demand for fresh meat is also growing in line with an evolving middle class and increasing disposable incomes.
Mr Dyner said immediate demand was for 50-60,000 cattle and it could grow to about 100,000 per year in coming years.
He said Expo-Trade invited Elders to participate in the project in January 2006.
"We have organised trips for Elders' specialists to visit Russia within the last few months and brought to Australia, representatives of Rosagroleasing, Russian livestock buyers and Russian Government representatives," Mr Dyner said.
"The collective efforts of Expo-Trade's Australian and Russian staff brought together Elders and Rosagroleasing, which has culminated with the signing of a contract during Australia Week in Moscow last week.
"Export of livestock is only the beginning - Expo-Trade opens doors for other Australian agricultural products and services in Russia again."