Russia has increased meat imports significantly this year, with the value of poultry meat imports doubling, according to data from the country’s Federal Customers Service.
Russia’s meat imports reached 851,200 tonnes (t) in the first seven months of 2012, a 12.3% increase on the same period in 2011. In value terms, imports of meat increased by 10.7% to US$2.969bn. The total volume of meat imports from non-CIS countries amounted to 717,700t, which was worth US$2.774bn.
The biggest increase was seen in poultry meat, with fresh and frozen poultry imports increasing by 38.7% in volume terms and 57.8% in value terms in January-July 2012. Volume increased from 195,000t to 270,500t, while value increased to US$422.5m.
Most of this was imported from non-CIS countries, which accounted for 225,7000t of poultry meat imports, worth US$326,300m.
Volumes of imports of ready-to-eat meat products and canned meat increased by 31.8% to 25,700t, while value increased by 34.4%, to US$120m.
Imports of poultry meat already have doubled compared to the volume initially forecast by the Russian Union of poultry farmers (Rosptitsesoyuz). Experts have warned this could lead to a production excess in the domestic market as early as next year, which would cause prices to collapse. They said it was therefore vital to establish exports of poultry meat.
Vice-president of the Russian Grain Union Alexander Korbut said the government needed to give “clear guidance” to businesses throughout the supply chain on developing exports.
“Exports are not an end in themselves, but they are the mechanism of obtaining high and stable income for manufacturers. Russia could sell about 200,000t of poultry and pork abroad annually. We could also produce halal products from poultry and beef which are very interesting for Middle Eastern countries,” said Korbut.