MOSCOW, March 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) has permitted the import of seed potatoes from another European country - the Netherlands, as follows from the agency’s statement published on Tuesday.
Rosselkhoznadzor said a laboratory examination had not revealed any quarantine organisms in batches supplied from the Netherlands, allowing therefore about 17,600 tons of Dutch seed potatoes to be supplied to Russia.
Earlier, the agency said it might resume the import of Dutch seed potatoes on the condition that it would check every batch ready to be supplied to the Russian market.
On March 22, Rosselkhoznadzor allowed the import of seed potatoes from three other countries of the European Union.
“According to the agreements reached between Rosselkhoznadzor and national plant protection and quarantine organizations of Germany, France and Poland, Rosselkhoznadzor specialists will hold a pre-shipment inspection of seed potatoes ready to be supplied to the Russian market between March 24 and April 3, 2014,” the agency said in a statement, adding that the possibility of supplying certain potato batches to Russia would be considered after a laboratory examination.
Temporary restrictions on the import of seed and ware potatoes from the European Union were imposed on July 1, 2013, following the detection of a dangerous potato pest - the golden nematode - in potato imports. The Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Britain and Poland were Russia’s main suppliers of seed potatoes. In 2012, Russia imported 21,000 tons of seed potato from the European Union, including 11,000 tons from the Netherlands.
Russia annually imports about 400-600 thousand tonnes of ware and seed potatoes, except for the lean year of 2010-2011, when the potato import reached 1.2 million tons. On the whole, Russia produces 29 million tons of potatoes every year. The potato market capacity is estimated at nearly eight billion rubles a year (about $224 million).
At present, the country experiences a deficit of seed potatoes. National agricultural enterprises are almost completely dependent on seed potato imports.