Federation Council Proposes to Pivot From Meat Imports

Federation Council Proposes to Pivot From Meat Imports

Photo: https://www.kp.ru/

It is necessary to completely ban imports of meat products even from the so called friendly countries in order to support the Russian meat producers, said Federation Council member Yevgeny Savchenko.

The former governor of the Belgorod Region, now a senator, recommended the Russian government to take this “important and necessary” decision.

Savchenko, a member of the Federation Council Committee on Budget and Financial Markets, proposed creating an additional reserve of meat, as well as vegetable and canned meat, which would not only “support this important industry,” but also provide a strategic food reserve and market about 1 million tons of excess meat, as well as “create a tool” for price regulation in the meat products market in the future.

According to the Federal Service of State Statistics (Rosstat,) the volume of meat production in the Russian Federation for 8 months of 2022 increased to 2.2 million tons, which is 7.1% more than during the same period last year. As reported by the watchdog agency, pork production increased by 8.1% (to 1.99 million tons), and poultry production increased by 0.3% (to 2.2 million tons). Also the production of processed products grew up by 1% (to 2.9 million tons.)

According to Savchenko, our country should also prohibit the import of lysine, because the production of this amino acid in Belarus and Russia “exceeds the needs of cattle farmers of these countries by 20-25%.”

However, Pyotr Shelishch, Chairman of the Consumer Union of the Russian Federation, said that when the supply is reduced “the cost of the product increases” and it is impossible to cut back on imported meat, because Russia is “highly dependent on it.” In his opinion, the cost of the so called borsch set [a sour soup common in Eastern Europe, made with red beetroots as one of the main ingredients], according to which the approximate level of prices and availability of vegetables for different categories of citizens is assessed, may grow with an increase in the cost of meat.

“With all the success of import substitution in poultry and pork, Russia remains highly dependent on hatching eggs and chickens for farming broilers and laying hens, which we buy mostly in European countries, on pedigree cattle and on bull semen, breed improvers, which we buy in the United States and Canada,” said Shelishch.

He reminded that Russia has plans to create something of its own by 2025-2026, but “if we stop such purchases for a few years, it will have a significant impact on our livestock base.”

In his turn, Doctor of Economic Sciences Sergey Kalashnikov, a deputy of the 7th State Duma, believes that “there is no need to replace everything with imports,” and it is necessary only because of the crisis of the old economic model all over the world.

Meanwhile, according to the latest data, the prices for the ingredients of the so called borsch set have fallen to the level of 2020 due to a good harvest of vegetables and root crops this year.

According to the data of the Ministry of Agriculture as of the end of September, as Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes, the potato harvest increased by 18% compared to the same period last year and amounted to more than 4 million tons. According to the forecasts of the ministry, more than 7 million tons will be harvested (by 0.5 - 0.6 million tons more than in 2021.) Vegetables will be harvested about the same amount along with greenhouse 6.8 million tons, said the Head of the Ministry of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev during a recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to Rosstat, since the beginning of this year the price of potatoes, carrots, and beets has gone down by 25-50%, and the price of onions has gone up by an “imperceptible” 2.9%. Also, as reported by the Expert Analytical Center of Agribusiness (AB-Center), in mid-September, potatoes in stores cost an average of 29.1 rubles/kg, beets cost 27.1 rubles ($0.47)/kg, cabbage – 22 rubles ($0.35)/kg, and carrots - 34.7 rubles/kg ($0.55).

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