Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Agri-news from Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan

Belarus customs officers have restarted inspections of trucks on the border with Russia presumably in retaliation to Russia imposing a ban on the transit of food through Belarus to third countries.

Control over the countries’ borders was previously suspended in 2011 after Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan had established the Customs Union.

A Russian trade delegation has expressed interest in importing agricultural produce from Zimbabwe.

Head of the delegation said that EU and US trade sanctions had propelled Russia to turn to Latin America, Asia and Africa for agricultural produce, conveniently forgetting it was Russia that imposed food import sanctions.

The head of the delegation went on to say they were interested in citrus fruits and understanding the nature and structure of subsidies because they believed that is the crux of the matter in terms of sustaining farmers, conveniently forgetting Russia has no money to subsidies farmers or that subsidies are a blunt instrument in managing agricultural policy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Turkey last week.

Turkey looks to capitalise on the EU US Russian food sanctions by seeking to increase agricultural exports to Russia.

Turkish Minister Taner Yildiz said “Turkey will not make a choice between the European Union and Russia.  We are developing projects based on our own and mutual interests”.

Absolutely Minister but that will require a level of commitment to a business plan that hinges on politically imposed sanctions which could just as easily be lifted.  Risky.

Iran jumped on the supply Russia with food bandwagon when Deputy Minister of Agriculture said Iran has considerable supplies of food to be exported to Russia including chicken, eggs and fish.

I only hope the fish are not from the festering oil slick that is the Caspian Sea which by all accounts smells like TCP.

Indian Buffalo meat is potentially on Russian and Kazakhstan tables this winter as the Russian veterinary regulator Rosselkhoznadzor and Kazakhstan’s ministry of agriculture report that imports have now been cleared and it is now up to local companies to coordinate deliveries from suppliers.

I assume this is to supplement generic meat demand rather than to supply a niche market in organic buffalo steaks.