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Russian Meat Imports Bounce

by 5m Editor
25 July 2008, at 12:31pm

RUSSIA - The Russian economy is booming, and little wonder, given the fact that the country holds vast reserves of oil and gas. Living standards, especially in the major cities, are also increasing with consumers demanding more meat than in former times.

However, the Scotsman reports that Russian farming is still recovering from the inefficiencies of the Soviet era and Stalin's collectivisation of most of the productive land.

Accordingly, over the past 18 months, Russia has witnessed meat imports soar. The latest figures from the Customs Committee of Russia reveal that in the first quarter of this year imports of pork - in fresh and frozen forms - bounced from 108,900 tonnes in the first three months of 2007 to 152,600 tonnes.

Imports from the EU more than doubled from 24,700 tonnes to 53,700 tonnes, despite the fact that the authorities in Moscow had banned the sourcing of meat from 85 plants, mostly in the former Soviet bloc, on hygienic grounds.

The Scotsman also says that pig producers throughout much of the EU have had a tough time over the last 18 months as a result of a near doubling of feed costs. Sow numbers have fallen in all of the major pig producing countries, but current prices for finished pigs are now running well ahead of 12 months ago. In Denmark bacon pigs are now making over 13 per cent more than last July while in Germany the value of cull sows at the end of their breeding life has jumped by over 40 per cent.

There is no direct trade link between the UK and Russia, but there are clear signs that the upsurge in pig values on mainland Europe is beginning to filter back across the Channel.

5m Editor