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No politics behind bans on food imports

April 25, 2014, 17:53 UTC+3 25 25/4

There would be no shortage of food products in Russia, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov says

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At a supermarket in Russia

At a supermarket in Russia

© ITAR-TASS/Ruslan Shamukov

KHABAROVSK, April 25./ITAR-TASS/. Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov said there were no politics behind possible decisions to ban some supplies to Russia from some or other countries.

"It is usual. It is just presented as something extraordinary due to the politicization of the situation around Ukraine," he said, commenting on the reports about a possible ban on supplies of fruit and vegetables from Poland.

The minister noted that the federal service for veterinary and phytosanitary surveillance and the federal service for supervision of consumer rights protection and human welfare previously regularly imposed bans because of detection of some diseases or phytosanitary, quarantine or other problems.

Fyodorov also assured that there would be no shortage of food products in Russia. The Russian Agriculture Ministry rules out any possibility of shortages of some food products because of restrictions or sanctions, he told reporters in reply to a question about consequences of possible restrictions on supplies to Russia from some countries.

Practically always there are alternative countries and alternative regions that can promptly begin to supply needed products, he said.

In his words, there are several countries that offer supplies. "They say we have heard about possible restrictions, and we would like to be the first to supply products alternatively, for example instead of Poland, Lithuania or some other country," he noted.

Besides, a position of farmers in Western countries is far from always being the same as that of their governments. The United States is unwilling now to be a friend of Russia, but US producers of poultry, pork and beef ask for access to the Russian market, the minister notes, adding that the influence of farmers in the United States is rather strong. "There are more than six million voters only, and with family members there are tens of millions of voters. It is a very influential force in Europe and the US. So, we will work, if not with the administrations (of the countries), then with farmers of France, the Netherlands and Canada," he added.

On the whole, there can be some minor delays to substitute supplies, but no noticeable shortages in stores because of political processes are expected for rather a long period, the minister assures.

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