The annexation of the Crimea and the Russian support of rebels in eastern Ukraine have led to sanctions being imposed on that country. Following the sanctions, Russia has banned the import of agricultural products like fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from US, European Union, Canada and Australia. Almost 25% of food products imported into Russia have been banned leading to speculation about scarcity and rise in inflation.
The Russian Governments has stated that they have one month to look for new food exporters as their stock of food from the banned countries will last for at least one month. Countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Middle East, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific Region as also foreign trade partners from Customs Union are likely to benefit from this move.
India’s Commerce Ministry has also stepped up efforts to fill in the domestic food gap in Russia that the ban has generated. India hopes to supply buffalo meat, processed foods, dairy products, fish products and vegetables to meet the scarcity in these products. At present India exports grapes, cucumber, gherkins, dried and preserved vegetables and guar gum.
Russia had banned the import of poultry and meat products from India because of the presence of foot and mouth disease in animals in India. However, the Agricultural and Processed Food Exports Development Authority (APEDA) says that India’s concerted efforts to eliminate the disease has shown results and only very random cases of the disease are now seen. On the other hand Rinderpest has been completely eradicated and even the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has officially declared India free of the disease.
While many countries had lifted the ban on the supply of buffalo meat Russia had continued with the ban. However, with the view to boost supplies, Russia has once again shown an interest in importing poultry and buffalo meat products. The Indian suppliers are also seeing it as an opportunity to once again export these items to Russia. Buffalo meat is largely exported to Vietnam, Malaysia, Egypt, Thailand and Saudi Arabia. Buffalo meat exports fetch a huge Rs.26, 457crores and the Russian demand will give a big boost to the already immense market.