Russia to increase imports of vegetables, meat and dairy products from India soon

Russian officials will be in India in October to inspect Indian production facilities, and food exports to Russia are expected to surge from December 2014

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Russia is expected to increase imports of fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products from India starting December 2014 under an agreement reached between Russia’s phytosanitary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor and India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) this week.

According to official sources in Russia, Sergey Dankvert, Head of the Rosselkhoznadzor, and Santosh Kumar Sarangi, Chairman, APEDA, have agreed to complete the quarantine and other certifications in two months, which will allow exports of Indian food products to Russia by December 2014.

India-Russia-Sep14-TheDollarBusiness1 Meeting between officials of APEDA and Rosselkhoznadzor in Russia in September 2014 (Source - Rosselkhoznadzor)

Russian veterinary experts are expected to arrive next month and may stay in India to control the production chain and shipment of products to Russia, as is being done in China. The move will help boost India’s meat and seafood exports to Russia as well.

India is the world’s largest producer of milk, and a top exporter of meat and seafood products, but exports to Russia are negligible, partly due to the strict quality standards and Russia’s preference for agriculture products from Europe and neighbouring countries.

However, Russia’s tiff with western powers over the Ukraine crisis has opened doors for several countries including India. Last month, Russia banned imports of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from USA, EU, Australia, Canada and several other countries. Russia has also banned imports of alcoholic beverages, candy, and confectioneries from Ukraine and is likely to ban imports of fruits from Ukraine next week.

India-foodexports-Russia-TheDollarBusiness Source - International Trade Centre

It is estimated that Russia will have to source food products worth $16 billion as a substitution for products from EU alone. Russia’s annual milk and milk products import requirements are estimated at above 5,000 million tonnes, and the country used to buy 50% of its dry milk and cheese from the former Soviet Baltic republics and Finland. The ban has led to huge opportunities for the Indian dairy sector, allowing India’s largest exporter of milk products, Amul, to become the first Indian dairy company to enter the Russian market.

According to Anatoly Sirotinin, Chief Executive, Galactica Group, the Russian dairy company will begin distribution of Amul’s milk and dairy products in Russia soon. He told the state news agency in Russia that Amul is likely to be certified by Rosselkhoznadzor within a month and distribution of Amul products will begin after that.

This article was published on September 20, 2014.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Sep 20, 2014 12:00 IST