As stated in a report from the country’s agricultural ministry the permission includes chicken and turkey meat and by-products.
Russian authorities granted a ‘certificate of merit’ for all such exports, which “proves the high quality of our local veterinary supervision”, stated Dr Shlomo Garaz, chief veterinarian of the export-import department of the Veterinary Service of the Israel Agricultural Ministry.
Israeli officials claim the Russian decision has great political significance. “Russia opens a door for Israel chicken, against the background of the European sanctions against Israel”, say the representatives of the department. The same opinion has been expressed by Israel’s Agricultural Minister Uri Ariel.
“The opening of poultry imports to Russia has great importance for Israel, as the European boycott currently forces domestic poultry farms to seek alternative markets for local products,” he said.
According to official information, Israel exports 3,300 tonnes (t) of poultry meat to 31 countries. Local poultry farms export primarily kosher products for Jewish communities, with about 2,000t the country sends to US and 1,000t to EU. The potential of the Russian market is still not determined.
The European boycott Israeli officials refer to concerns the European Commission’s mandate to label the origin of meat products from Jewish settlements in the territories of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, issued on 11 November.
These products have not been banned, but it has been suggested that the move would negatively affect Israel’s poultry exports to the EU. The Israeli ministry’s press service emphasises that Russia approved poultry imports from the country without any mandatory origin labelling.
Russia bolstered by Israeli meat
Based on 2010 data, Russia’s Jewish community consists of 156,000 people, as officially-registered Jewish communities can be found in 100 cities in the country. It is believed that Russia could begin importing kosher meat, driving volumes up to as much as 1,000t within a few years.
Previously, ex-Minister of Agriculture of the Israel Yair Shamir suggested Israel could really boost the volume of agricultural exports to Russia while EU regulatory hurdles remain.
However, according to official information, in the second half of 2014 imports of Israeli goods to Russia dropped by a third. A possible explanation for that is the reduced purchasing power of Russian citizens amid the devaluation of Russian currency.