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The Russian Agriculture and Food Ministry has announced the list of countries which are supposed to export meat, milk, fruits and sea products

Wonderful method to substitute food elements

The Russian Agriculture and Food Ministry has announced the list of countries which are supposed to export meat, milk, fruits and sea products.
By Polina Kononova

The French are scared, the British are disappointed and the Finns are losing their hope… These feelings stretch even further when speaking of foreigners who’ve learnt of Russia’s food embargo. The EU alone would lose many billions of Euros as a result, while Russian and CIS farmers, as well as African and Asian states, are pleased to face this new situation. They are ready to calculate revenues as, in the immediate future, more exports to Russia are planned. Belarusian producers would win as well.


The Russian Agriculture and Food Ministry has announced the list of countries which are supposed to export meat, milk, fruits and sea products. Belarusian and Russian experts are already discussing the issue of rising sales of Belarusian produce to Russia. Of course, our country would fail to satisfy all the needs of the neighbouring state but, definitely, Belarusian exports of meat, milk, vegetables and fish are likely to rise by up to 20 percent.

However, the future is not so clear. The Santa Bremor JSC’s Marketing Department admits that their factory is already selling the whole range of its produce to Russia, and any possibility of rising exports is vague. “We could hardly view the present situation as exclusively positive. Russia is definitely not a ‘food Klondike’ for us. Of course, we can partially support our neighbours, and would even be forced to do so, but this move is worrying. We are afraid that domestic prices might change,” the plant’s specialists note, adding that the situation is more advantageous for small companies which experience liquidity problems. In turn, large and steadily operating facilities view the forthcoming prospects with fear.

Belryba JSC has taken the news on the Russian embargo easily. As its Director General’s Aide, Olga Murashko notes, the Russian market has enough food of its own. Meanwhile, transit exports from Belarus via Russia might rise. The Minsk factory buys fish from Russia’s Far Eastern, Northern and Volga-Caspian regions but most imported raw materials come from Norway (which would not sell fish to Russia from now on).

Belryba’s Head of the Export Department, Andrey Konstantinov, asserts that imported fish would be sold to the neighbouring market as the company’s ready-made produce. “There is no need to dramatise the situation. Russia is independently able to fill all its fish-related gaps. It already receives batches from the Kamchatka peninsula; these would substitute Norwegian salmon. As for our company, we could increase sales if needed. So far, their share is small as we are exporting exclusively our own produce to Russia. However, if needed, we could process Norwegian fish and prepare Belarusian products which would then be sold to Russian consumers,” he adds.

Fish is usually served with vegetables, and Belarusian farmers plan to increase sales of the latter in the near future. The necessary conditions are already created to increase export of potatoes, cabbage and carrots. The Director of Stolin’s Agricultural Development Centre, Victor Velesnitsky, shares the secret of their success — local farmers export up to 90 percent of all cucumbers (grown in hothouses) to Russia — 50,000 tonnes a year. It’s not easy to increase this figure, as our local market has its own needs as well. “Not long ago, potential buyers from St. Petersburg called us; we are now studying possible co-operation related to the export of fresh and canned vegetables,” Mr. Velesnitsky explains. “Individual farmers enjoy pleasant times now. Prices are high and demand is rising. Accordingly, Belarusian farmers need to use this year, demonstrating to Russian consumers that they can also sell produce well. Of course, Russians would make their choice on what vegetables to buy.”

MT reference:

As the Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister, Mikhail Rusy, has explained recently, the increase of export sales of agricultural produce to Russia would not negatively affect our domestic market. “The local market is operating normally. It’s stable, and no changes are planned here. We have no problems. Our warehouses keep enough produce. We can increase meat and milk exports by another 15-20 percent,” he noted.

To fill the emerging gap, the country plans to restudy its export avenues, concentrating mostly on the Russian market. “Primarily, we need to increase our production volume — especially milk products,” Mr. Rusy said. He also added that export of vegetables could rise by 25-30 percent (against last year’s figures). “Despite the hot weather, we’ll collect enough vegetables. We are expecting to enjoy a rich harvest of cabbage, carrots and potatoes. According to preliminary estimations, the latter’s yield would exceed 250 centners per hectare.”

The Government believes the country would be able to export over 1m tonnes of potatoes this year. Meanwhile, additional sales of food to Russia would become possible, owing to buying individuals’ agricultural produce.
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