Poultry Meat Supply to be Secure by 2015, Says Putin

RUSSIA - Prime Minister Putin has announced that all poultry meat imports may be stopped by 2015 as the country is aiming at self-sufficiency by that date.
calendar icon 15 January 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

Russia may stop importing poultry by 2015, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Thursday, backing a ban imposed on US chicken imports at the beginning of the year, reports Moscow Times.

Chairing a meeting on poultry production in Snegirevka in the Leningrad region. Mr Putin said: "We haven't seen any readiness to meet Russian standards on the part of some of our partners, mainly the companies from the United States. If our foreign suppliers are unable or reluctant to meet our security requirements, we will use other sources," he said, Interfax reported.

Gennady Onishchenko, head of the Federal Consumer Protection Service, signed a decree in June 2008 outlawing the use of chlorine in poultry treatments used by some US producers but he later pushed back the starting date for the measure to 1 January 2010.

Mr Putin rejected suggestions that the ban was political in nature, saying Russia had simply adopted regulations that were already in effect throughout the European Union.

He said: "One shouldn't look for political background in this case, God forbid, no political background here!" He added that Russia would gradually replace imported poultry with domestic production and could halt poultry imports altogether in "four or five years".

The country plans to import a total of 780,000 metric tons of poultry in 2010 and gradually decrease the share of imports to 550,000 metric tons by 2012, according to a decree signed by the government in December.

The government cut the United States’ poultry quota for 2010 to 600,000 metric tons, or 20 per cent of the poultry market, last December, down from 750,000 metric tons in 2009.

Moscow Times reports that Mr Putin also accused poultry wholesalers of spreading fears of increased prices and said producers should have invested more in domestic production.

If the proper investment had been made, he said: "Retailers that deal with [poultry] imports from abroad wouldn't find it necessary to scare citizens with an unjustified price increase."

Wholesale prices for US imported poultry jumped to 70 rubles (RUB; $2.4) per kilo since the ban was introduced on 1 January, up 20 per cent from RUB58 rubles at the end of December, Yevgeny Kogan, chairman of the Food Trade Group, which supplies meat and produce to supermarkets, said on 13 January.

Moscow Times reports that Mr Kogan told Interfax; "Poultry used to be the cheapest protein in Russia, consumed mostly by low-income individuals. So any price increase could be harmful for sales volumes." He added that domestic poultry prices had increased 15 per cent since the beginning of the year.

ITAR-TASS news agency reports that under the existing quotas, the United States may export to Russia up to 600,000 tonnes of poultry and "Nobody is prohibiting the import of this product."

This statement was made by First Deputy Prime Minister, Viktor Zubkov, yesterday (14 January), adding that there is a mandatory condition the poultry in question must correspond to the existing sanitary requirements.

"We have adjusted the sanitary requirements to those of the European Union," Mr Zubkov said about the new rules that took effect on January 2010. He explained that in treating poultry meat, the use of chloride solutions was prohibited.

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