Russia is nearing self-sufficiency in poultry meat, although ministers have said the country will not abandon imports.
With Russia’s entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) approaching, both poultry producers and the members of the State Duma (Russian Parliament) have insisted on rapidly increasing poultry meat production to achieve self-sufficiency indicators.
Recent estimates by the Federal Statistics Service (Rosstat) and a number of analytical agencies suggest that Russians’ poultry production has developed more rapidly than expected over recent years and that the country could be self-sufficient in poultry meat by 2013, rather than the originally projected 2015.
A few weeks ago, Gennady Onishchenko, head of the Federal Service on Surveillance for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-being (Rospotrebnadzor), claimed that Russia was already self-sufficient in white poultry meat. “Russia now produces 3,150,000 tonnes (t) of white meat, with import quotas set at around 500,000t. Thus, we are already meeting the financial demand for white meat, but we need another 1mt of white meat to meet the physical demand,” he said.
However, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told parliament that the country would not abandon imports of poultry meat, as it is required by many manufacturers. “We cannot just stop the import of poultry meat – and not because we should care about foreign manufacturers,” he said. “We must take into account the prices of products in major cities. Three years ago, we imported 1.6mt of poultry meat and, last year, the total volume of imports was only around 200,000t.”
Currently it is projected that by 2013/14, imports will stabilise at around 5-7% of the market, which is equivalent to 100,000t per year.
Putin noted that the poultry industry is not a sector the government should be worrying about with regards to Russia’s entry to the WTO, pointing out that pig farming is more of a concern.
Leading analytical agencies have predicted that the Russian poultry industry could even benefit from entering the WTO, because it is predicted that, by 2014, the country could face an imbalance in poultry meat production, with an excess of white poultry meat on the market, due to the popularity of darker meat in the country.
“With the state’s policy to restrict imports and investment in the development of the industry, Russia looks set to be able to fully meet the poultry meat needs of its population in the foreseeable future, and realise its export potential,” said analysts at market research firm Express Obzor.
“However, domestic manufacturers may face the problem of a production surplus as a result of the prevalence of carcases and white meat and an insufficient production of dark meat.”
This suggests that imports will continue to play an important role in the Russian market, increasing supply of dark meat and preventing prices from rising too high.