May 7, 2009

Spain pig exporters see value-added hurdles on Russian ban


Although Russia's ban on pork imports from countries affected by AH1N1 would have a limited impact on Spanish exports, local producers fear it may hit prospects for value-added sales of prime pig products.


Miguel Padilla, head of markets at Spain's Agriculture and Livestock Confederation, sees quality related repercussions, as the Russian market represents "a significant shelf for value-added products such as prime cured Iberian ham."


Russia, which produces 1.7 million tonnes of pork products, imported last year some 110,000 tonnes of pork and pig products from Spain - mostly scrap - worth EUR147 million (US$195.45 million).


The ban has sparked local producer demands for government support. Environment Minister Elena Espinosa said Wednesday (May 6) the government has already contacted Russian sanitary authorities.


Multilateral organisations have said Russia's claims aren't justified, and several countries affected by AH1N1 complain the ban represents a curb on trade.


A spokesman from Campofrio Food Group SA (CFG.MC), Spain's leading listed meat producer, said Russia's ban won't have a significant impact on exports.


Campofrio last year sold Russian unit Campomos to Finland's Atria PlC for EUR75 million (US$100 million). Campomos represented eight percent of Campofrio's total sales and was Russia's fifth-largest producer by sales.