November 13, 2008
Russia is planning to decrease US pork import quota but the move may be more of a bane than boon.
Russian pork producers are currently having a hard time meeting domestic demand, and cutting the pork import quota may make the situation worse.
Total pork production reached 478,500 tonnes last year, but total imports volume was about the same level at 484.8 tonnes, with 97 percent of it being used.
A cut in pork import quota will lead to a sharp price increase for the meat, and current prices are rather high. Processors may be forced to increase product prices or reduce output volumes due to the financial crisis, and that could lead to meat shortages.
There are also concerns that an acute meat shortage could lead to illegal meat sales.
Industry experts feel that Russia has to take one step at a time, starting with increasing domestic pork output and improving production efficiency.
So far, Russia has slashed poultry import quota by 300,000 tonnes starting from next year.