Russian embargo: Brazil could reap the rewards on soy and meat exports

Russian embargo: Brazil could reap the rewards on soy and meat exports

The Russian ban on food and agricultural products from the EU, North America, and Australia, looks likely to support a hike in grain, oils and meals as well as meat exports from Brazil to that market.

Around 90 additional meat processing facilities in Brazil have been given approval to export beef, chicken and pork to Russia and the South American nation is aiming to increase its exports of corn and soybeans sales to the Russian livestock and food sector, reports Reuters, citing Brazil's secretary of agricultural policy, Seneri Paludo.

The president of Brazil's animal protein association, ABPA Brazil, on Wednesday said the country would be able to cover the chicken exports from the US to Russia and would increase exports by 150,000 tons per year, though the trade group said increasing pork exports would be harder.

Embargo said to be reaction to sanctions from West

Yesterday Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced he had signed a decree introducing a ‘full embargo’ on a number of categories of food from the EU, US, Australia, Canada and Norway.

"Pursuant to the decree of the president, I have signed a government decree. Russia imposes a total ban on the supply of beef, pork, fruits and vegetables … poultry, fish, cheese, milk and dairy products," said Medvedev.

“In fact, we are talking about an embargo on imports of whole categories of products from those countries that have imposed economic sanctions on Russian organizations and citizens,” the PM added, referring to the penalties imposed on Russia by Western countries over the illegal annexation of Crimea and destabilization of Ukraine. 

The Russian ban on foodstuffs is reportedly for one year, but Medvedev also conceded that “if our partners demonstrate a constructive approach on cooperation, the Russian government is ready to revise the terms of those measures.”

The EU farm lobby group, Copa-Cogeca, told feednavigator.com it has “serious concerns” about the ban and is currently analyzing its impact on the EU farm sector.

“We support efforts designed to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and urge the European Commission (EC) to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” said the group.

Roger Waite, a spokesperson for the EC's DG Agriculture & Rural Development, said the Commissioner, Dacian Cioloș, has called a meeting of senior agricultural experts from all EU member states for next Thursday.

Existing pork export restrictions

The EU pork sector has been subject to an import ban from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus since the start of the year, imposed after African swine fever was discovered in Poland and Lithuania.

Those three countries accounted for more than one million tons of EU pork exports in 2013.

Exports of food and raw materials from the EU to Russia were worth €12.2bn (€16.3bn) in 2013, following several years of double-digit growth.

BSE case: temporary ban on Romanian meat and feed products

In addition, the Russian food safety watchdog said it was imposing temporary restrictions on the import of cattle, beef, and feed products including meat meal, meat-and-bone meal, blood meal, bone-in beef, offals, and processed animal proteins from Romania, following an 'outbreak' of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in that country.

The Romanian national veterinary authority (ANSVSA) rejected the Russian version of events, according to local media sources.

The agency said Russia does not import bovine cattle, beef and by-products from Romania, and that the 'outbreak' referred to is in fact an isolated, atypical BSE case which has no impact on human health.

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