From January to August 2018, Russia exported meat and by-products worth a total value of US$261 million (m), up 32.3% on the same period the previous year, the Federal Customs Service (FSC) has estimated, although it gave no details about volume figures. Poultry meat exports increased by 13% to 126,000 tonnes (t), said the FSC. The overall value of poultry sold outside Russia was $127m, it added.
Russia exports meat primarily to Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Vietnam. According to Anton Khokhlov, a spokesperson for the Russian Export Center, broiler meat and poultry by-products have the strongest export potential amongst all types of meat. Khokhlov also stressed that, during the first half of 2018, Russian poultry exported to Vietnam and Hong Kong had been further re-exported to China, as long as direct supplies to that country were banned.
Russia will start exporting its first batches of poultry meat directly to China this year, said Russian Agricultural Minister Dmitry Patrushev in a statement posted in the official publication of the Russian Government on 7 November. Following years of negotiations, the long-awaited agreement between Russian veterinary body Rosselkhoznadzor and China’s General Administration of Customs was concluded last Wednesday (7 November), Patrushev revealed.
China is a top priority market for Russian exporters, so Russian authorities are likely to engage in more efforts to expand access for Russian agricultural products to this country, Patrushev added. As of now, the trade agreement between the two countries enables Russian companies to export only poultry meat and dairy products to China. All types of red meat exports from Russia to China are not allowed.
China banned poultry meat exports from Russia in 2005, following several avian influenza (AI) outbreaks registered in the country. Sergey Yushin, chairman of the Russian National Meat Association, told GlobalMeatNews that China was among the most promising markets for Russian poultry and pork producers. Yushin admitted that problems with biosecurity in Russia, including AI and African swine fever, had prevented Russian meat from gaining access to China for a long time.
The recent trade deal with China was signed a day after the biggest AI outbreak in Russia this year was confirmed. In Voronezh Oblast, Rosselkhoznadzor had to cull 1.2 million laying hens at the Bobrovsky Poultry Complex, where an AI outbreak was registered, according to Sergey Litvinenko, chairman of the Rosselkhoznadzor department for Voronezh Oblast.
A particular danger is that the virus was detected in the Central federal district, where the largest poultry farms in the country are located. In previous months, most AI outbreaks in Russia had been found in the Southern federal district.