Russian pork consumption to drop 20%

31-03-2009 | |

Russia will consume 20% less pork this year and cut imports substantially as the global economic crisis drives consumers to buy cheaper poultry meat, Sergei Yushin, the head of the National Meat Association has said.

Meat processors are also adding more offal to their sausages as consumers cut spending on food products to weather Russia’s first recession in a decade, Yushin said.

Russia produced about 6 million tonnes of meat in 2008 and consumed almost 9 million tonmes, or 3.1% of the world’s entire meat consumption, according to statistical data.

Pork import quotas
Yushin, whose powerful industry lobby unites major meat importers, processors and animal breeders, said the country should retain current import quotas on poultry and pork. “We are unable to compete with many meat producers, and, therefore, we will have to keep import quotas for at least the next three years”.

The National Meat Association favours the abolition of country-specific quotas, Yushin said, but he added that such a move would encounter strong resistance from influential US meat lobbies and some Russian importers. This year the tariff on pork imported above the quota has been raised.

Last year, Russia’s pork output was 2 million tonnes and imports 770,000 tonnes, while beef output was 1.65 million tonnes and imports about 800,000 tonnes.