Russia’s veterinary authorities began a self-imposed ban on poultry supplies in September 2014 following an outbreak of avian influenza (AI) in the Altai Krai region.
However, according to Russian veterinary body Rosselkhoznadzor, there have been no signs of the disease in that region since then. A letter from Bernard van Gotham, head of the EC directorate on health and consumer rights, stated: “Russia has successfully implemented control over the outbreaks of the highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza and currently fulfils the requirement of the regulation № 789/2008 of the European Commission.”
“Starting on 10 December, Russia has restored supplies of poultry products to the EU,” confirmed Rosselkhoznadzor spokesperson Julia Melano. “The decision is connected with the fact that Russia has the situation under control and is fulfilling all the requirements of the European Commission.”
There are currently only four companies in Russia accredited to export poultry to the EU, including Russian poultry producer Prioskolie, ‘Bryansky Broiler’ – a subsidiary of Miratorg, and two manufacturers of ‘exotic’ poultry – turkey producer JSC Krasnobor and quail supplier Perepelkiny & Zovni.
Exotic poultry on-trend
Industry observers believe that producers of so-called exotic poultry will benefit most from the re-opening of the EU market.
Igor Smetanov, head of Krasnobor, said: “We consider being granted the right to export to Europe as another means of optimising our sales. So we are not planning an unrestrained increase in exports. I have an opportunity to compare what we are manufacturing and what is being manufactured there [in the EU]. I am not an expert on the taste preferences of people who live outside Russia, but I think our product is more natural, with the right taste.”
According to Mushegh Mamikonian, president of the Russian Meat Union, exports of exotic poultry will be popular because of the differences in consumption of this type of meat in Europe. According to him, consumption of turkey in Europe is five times bigger per capita than in Russia, for example.
“With the exchange rates we have today, Russia is becoming a potential player in international trade to a greater extent. Russia has some great businesses that can compete in markets where there are [enough] own products, such as in the EU,” said Mamikonian.
“However, Russian meat exporters will put greater efforts into markets in Asia and North Africa. These countries buy our grain, which means they do not have enough food resources. For them it is more expensive to produce their own meat.”