MOSCOW, February 26, /ITAR-TASS/. Belarus may supersede Ukraine as a supplier of foodstuffs to the Russian market in case Ukrainian imports are halted because of the difficult situation in that country, Russian Minister of Agriculture Nikolai Fedorov said on Wednesday after a joint meets of the boards of the Russian and Belarusian ministries of agriculture.
“Belarusians can ensure additional supplies of farming products to Russia,” he said, adding that the quality of Belarusian products was well familiar to Russian consumers.
According to the Russian minister of agriculture, the volume of Ukrainian exports to Russia with its annual sum of about 2.9 billion U.S. dollar accounted for a huge share of the Ukrainian agrarian sector. So, possible problems during the winter sowing campaign in Ukraine and Ukraine’s possible failure to meet Russian veterinary and sanitary requirements might be a painful blow on the Ukrainian agrarian sector, Fedorov noted, adding that the Russian market was unlikely to face any problems is the situation developed that way. “We have a long queue of those willing to fill any vacant imports niche,” he said.
The Russian minister said that his ministry was sorry that “Ukrainian farmers are facing such trials.”
In 2013, trade turnover between Russia and Belarus reached 40 billion U.S. dollars. Foods and agricultural raw materials accounted for 28 percent of trade between the two countries.