Extension of Russian import ban will maintain price pressure

Wednesday, 3 June, 2015

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has warned that the decision by Russia to extend its ban on food imports from European Union member states will leave farmers facing continuing poor prices for major commodities. 

Before it banned European imports, in August 2014, Russia was a major buyer of food products, including cheese, beef and pork. The loss of that market has had a direct impact on prices. “The price pressure farmers have experienced over the past year is partly down to the loss of the Russian market coupled with the weakness of the Euro, which now seems set to continue” said UFU president Ian Marshall. He added that this puts renewed pressure on the European Commission to financially support the development of new export markets and for dairy products in particular to look again at intervention prices.

Russia imposed the original ban in 2014 for 12 months in response to European sanctions over its activity in Ukraine. With these European sanctions now set to be extended for a further six months, Russia has said it will continue its food import ban for an equivalent period when it lapses in August.

“It is disappointing that farmers and the wider agri-food industry continue to be drawn into this global dispute,” said Ian Marshall. With this trade ban set to continue the European Commission needs to become much more aggressive in its pursuit of new export markets and new thinking about how to tackle the impact on farmers of poor prices.