UK - The UK exports relatively little food to Russia, so how will the ongoing ban impact the UK?
In 2013, for example, UK total food and drink exports, including alcohol, equated to just £115 million so any risk to Britain’s farmers of the now three week old Russian ban was always going to be through the indirect impacts as a result of a congested market in Europe as Russia closed its doors to imports from all European countries.
In the front line of concerns has been the perishable produce of the fruit and vegetable sector, with Russia representing some 30 per cent of all EU exports of fruit and vegetables to countries outside the EU. The fear was of big Russian exporting countries like Poland off-loading their surplus products into the market putting downward pressure on prices.
In the short term, the evidence is that UK prices have not been affected but as the ban continues it’s impossible to predict what effects we’ll see in the medium term.
The Commission was quick to act on measures for the fruit and vegetables, first announcing aid for peach and nectarine growers and then expanding measures to provide aid of €125 million to growers.
The other sector under scrutiny was the dairy industry with EU dairy exports to Russia last year worth €2.3 billion, notably in the form of cheese. The Russian ban has placed further pressure on what is an already weak European and global dairy market.
The first signs of that impact on the European market are just now beginning to show through as UK prices start to track EU prices, although the full impact will still take some time to show and will also depend on how long the ban lasts as we’ve already seen Russia loosen some of the restrictions with lactose free dairy exports now re-eligible for export.
The Commission though believes that concerns are sufficient to warrant the opening of private storage aid for butter, SMP and cheese products as well as extending intervention for butter and SMP until the end of the year.
TheCropSite News Desk