E-commerce in Russian pig market is booming

30-10-2023 | |
pig market russia
Photo: Canva

Russia’s leading meat unions have called on the authorities to control online pork sales, as a rise in turnover in this segment threatens to worsen the situation with African Swine Fever (ASF).

The Russian Union of pork producers and the Russian National Meat Association have sent a letter to the Russian Economy Development Ministry, stating the threat of the growing e-commerce niche of the meat market, where most available products are not subject to veterinary control.

Skyrocketing sales

The e-commerce segment of the Russian livestock industry is expanding. For instance, sales of live animals through the “My Farming” website, a platform operated by Russian state-owned agricultural bank Rosselhozbank, increased last year, by a factor of 10 times compared with the previous year. The data were provided by the same Rosselhozbank. The development is in line with the general trend of booming online sales in the Russian economy seen in the past several years.

The bank estimated that around 400 farmers are registered in the “My Farming” service to sell their products. On the other hand, the popularity of online sales remains uneven throughout Russia, being the highest in the southern regions and the lowest in Siberia.

ASF-hit Russian south in the spotlight

Quite a few online stores require no accompanying documentation from sellers, the authors of the appeal stated, reminding that these papers are necessary to make sure the offered products are safe, which means that they could also be a hazard in terms of ASF virus.

During recent research, in virtually every Russian region dozens of advertisements for the sale of meat online were found. The farmers cite an example of Krasnodar Krai, a region on the Russian Black Sea coast, where they discovered several advertisements none of which bore information about accompanying documents. Krasnodar Krai has recently been hit by a series of ASF outbreaks, as a result of which some farmers even forecasted a price hike in the Russian pork market.

Actions needed

In general, the sale of meat without accompanying documents, including veterinary certificates in Russia, is illegal, the farmers emphasised. If the meat products sold online are contaminated with veterinary diseases such as ASF, they could slip through state control. This branch of the meat market should be urgently regulated, the farmers said, calling the ministry to introduce relevant changes to the state regulations. So far, the ministry has not responded to the initiative.

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Vladislav Vorotnikov Eastern Europe correspondent