Russia’s Alternative Meat Supplies Falling Short of Expectations


In a press conference held last week, Sergey Dankvert, head of Russia’s Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (VPPS), said that despite Russia’s recent efforts to increase red meat imports from India and China, the volumes shipped have not lived up to expectations. Dankvert reported that China had shipped only 3,300 metric tons (mt) of pork to Russia, and those imports are now on hold “due to logistical issues.” He added that the prices at which Indian buffalo meat is being offered to Russian buyers are higher than expected, exceeding those for Brazilian beef.

Estimates based on Global Trade Atlas data show Russia’s 2014 pork/pork variety meat imports declined 47 percent to 407,031 mt, including 3,573 mt from China. Brazil was by far the largest pork supplier at 186,455 mt, up 50 percent from 2013 (but still 23 percent lower than in 2010). Russia’s imports of pork fat were just 41,020 mt, down 84 percent, as larger imports from Canada (11,363 mt, +88 percent) and the United States (2,738 mt, up from just 122 mt in 2013) and steady volumes from Chile (2,955 mt) did not come close to offsetting a 92 percent decline from the European Union (19,964 mt, down from 248,861 mt in 2013).

Russia’s beef/beef variety meat imports were down a more modest 7 percent to 776,278 mt (no imports were reported from India, as plants were not yet approved to ship). Brazil was also Russia’s largest beef supplier at 312,309 mt (+1 percent) followed by Paraguay (143,916 mt, -3 percent) and Belarus (126,748 mt, -16 percent).