NFU Scotland is to extend its regular monitoring of retail shop shelves to examine any impact that the Russian trade ban may have on prices or demand for Scottish produce.
While the Russian EU export ban, announced earlier this month, is not expected to cause significant disruption to Scottish farm produce, there is the potential for an indirect impact because EU products typically exported to Russia will have to find a new market. This may result in supply and/or price pressures in Scottish and UK markets.
Some member states in Europe are already reporting significant price falls in some commodities. The European Commission has made €125 million available for the fruit and vegetables sector for the period up to the end of November. This funding is likely to be focussed on measures to withdraw product from the market. A meeting in Brussels tomorrow (28 August) will consider the impact of the Russian ban on the animal products sector, particularly dairy, with the option of opening Private Storage Aid being floated.
NFU Scotland regularly examines shelf space in Scottish supermarket stores to look at support given by retailers to Scottish and British beef, pork, lamb and chicken. In light of the Russian ban, that ScotchWatch monitoring will be extended to soft fruit, vegetables and dairy produce.
“While there are limited direct impacts of the Russian ban on Scottish farmers and their produce, the indirect impacts remain largely unknown.
“However, given that one of the EU’s largest exports to Russia is fruit and vegetables, and the perishable nature of these products, the ban is already being felt in some countries. The EU is in the process of putting measures in place to support the sector but it is important that we monitor any ramifications for our growers here in Scotland.
“For that reason, key fruit and vegetables for Scotland – such as raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, carrots and onions - have been brought into our weekly ScotchWatch monitoring scheme so that we can quickly get a handle on any supply or price issues.
“Our pigs committee has concerns over disruption to traditional pork and bacon export routes while dairy is another sector thought to be exposed to the export ban due to displaced product, particularly cheese. Europe will consider livestock product markets tomorrow (28 August) but working with the Union’s Policy Managers, we will monitor any wholesale or retail concerns for all Scottish produce over the coming weeks and months.”
Notes to Editors
The Russian trade embargo on agricultural products is in place for 12 months from the initial decree from the Russian Prime Minister on the 7 August. (A further decree on the 20 August altered the list of banned products to remove seed potatoes, seed onions, peas for planting and lactose free milk and milk products).
European attention has focussed on the fruit and vegetable sector due to the perishable nature of the product, with some member states reporting significant price falls in some commodities. The Commission last week made €125m available for the fruit and vegetables sector for the period up to the end of November.
The Commission is continuing to monitor the market situation across all commodities with regular meetings of the Management Committee of Commission officials and member state experts, with the next meeting scheduled meeting for Thursday 28 August. Discussion at this meeting will focus on the impact of the Russian ban on the animal products sector with the option of opening Private Storage Aid being floated.
An extraordinary Agriculture Council will be held on 5 September where EU farm ministers have been called to Brussels to discuss the current crisis.