Domestic poultry production to get spur from frozen meat ban

A development plan for the Russian poultry sector could boost production of chickens and eggs, with the head of the poultry producers union saying that an import ban on frozen chicken meat reduces competition.

­Russia could increase poultry meat production to 4.5 million tonnes and boost egg output to 50 billion with development programs according to Vladimir Fisinin , chairman of Russia's poultry-producers union, speaking at a Wednesday meeting of the International Agribusiness Service in Moscow.

Fisinin said the aim of the industry should be focused not just domestically but on markets in neighbouring countries and the eurozone.

“Russia does have the potential to become a major supplier of these products and not just among developing countries and the Commonwealth of Independent States, but also to Europe”

Russia produced 2.37 million live-weight tonnes of poultry meat last year, 14.9% more than in 2008, with 2010 Egg production has increased by 1.6 billion, Fisinin said.  But he added that egg processing systems remain undeveloped, and that major regional difference exist.

“Egg-production itself is not evenly distributed about Russia, which is a cause for concern. The Belgorod region is the production leader, while 32 of Russia’s regions have not been able to get back to 1990s-level output.”

According to Gennady Onishchenko Chairman Rospotrebnadzor foreign poultry meat importers will ban on all incoming products produced from frozen chicken.

“We have already applied measures and regulations prohibiting the use of frozen poultry in baby food production from the beginning of 2010. Now we agreed to impose this regulation and prohibition on import of frozen chicken.”

Sergey Yushin Head of the Executive Committee of the Russian National Meat Association, says the ban on frozen imports will spur local production but also could drive chicken using product prices higher.

“The average wholesale price of chicken meat have not changed significantly over the year although the December price is up to 72.2 roubles per kilo from 66 roubles in September. Frozen chicken meat is cheaper than refrigerated. This means that the ban, which will operate from the beginning of 2011, can also affect the final product, which uses chicken and by all means will positively impact on domestic production development”

Poultry meat production increased by 15.3% year on year – to 2.5 million tonnes for the first 9 months of 2010. Although Russia needs to production Fisinin says he disagrees with the concept of a full import ban, as this would reduce competition in the marketplace.

"I am no fan of talking about a full import ban, as it is a medium that supports competition."