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Russia may lift import ban from Pakistani potatoes after inspection

January 20, 2014, 19:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, January 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s veterinary inspection service Rosselkhoznadzor may lift the current ban from the import of Pakistani potatoes to Russia following an on-site inspection, the spokesman for the agency, Aleksey Alekseyenko, told Itar-Tass on Monday.

Rosselkhoznadzor inspectors will check the system of phytosanitary control at Pakistan’s national plant protection and quarantine organization from January 20 to 25, 2014.

“We will examine all items of plant production - potato, grain, dried fruit and fresh fruit,” he said, adding that Pakistan was considered unfavourable in terms of phytosanitary security, and, therefore, the country’s national control system was of particular importance.

Russia imposed a ban on the import of all Pakistani agricultural products, including potatoes and rice, in 2013, following the detection of dangerous parasites in batches supplied - Khapra beetles in rice and the golden nematode pest in potato shipments. However, the ban on the import of citrus fruit was cancelled in December 2013.

Pakistan started supplying potatoes to the Russian market a few years ago. Before the ban, the country accounted for ten percent of Russia’s potato import, which reached 1.2 million tonnes in the lean year of 2010-2011. On the whole, Russia produces 29 million tonnes of potatoes every year. The potato market capacity is estimated at nearly eight billion dollars a year.

As for rice deliveries, Russia’s biggest importer is Vietnam, which annually supplies about 120,000 tonnes of rice to the Russian market. Pakistan supplied about 28,000 tonnes of rice before the ban. According to Euromonitor International, in 2013, the Russian rice market capacity was estimated at 35.4 billion dollars in monetary terms and 697,300 tonnes in terms of volume.

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