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Crimea asks Russia for permission to import some agricultural products from Ukraine

August 16, 2014, 0:03 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL

Crimea’s Agriculture Minister said that due to its geographical location the peninsula had problems in meeting its demands in milk, dairy products, sugar, oil and potatoes

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© ITAR-TASS/Aleksander Riumin

SIMFEROPOL, August 15 /ITAR-TASS/. Crimea has asked Russia for permission to continue importing milk, dairy products, sugar and sunflower oil from Ukraine, the CrimeaInform news agency reported.

Crimea’s Agriculture Minister Nikolai Polyushkin told journalists on Friday that due to its geographical location the peninsula had problems in meeting its demands in milk, dairy products, sugar, oil and potatoes most of which used to come from Ukraine.

“We have started receiving milk from the Kuban region but in view of transport logistics problems we cannot fully saturate the market. That is why we wrote a letter to Vice-Premier Dmitry Kozak asking him to allow the imports of milk from Ukraine,” Polyushkin stressed.

Crimea produces 311,000 tonnes of milk a year, one third of its annual needs of 900,000 tonnes. A lion’s share of that milk falls on private peasant households while only 67,000 tonnes are processed at plants.

Crimea is less dependent on Ukraine in other food items because it either has its own reserves or has compensated its needs with supplies from mainland Russia. For example, the peninsula is receiving sugar-beet from the Kuban region. Meanwhile, Crimea will have to create capacities for sunflower oil production. Previously, all sunflower seeds used to be processed in the territory of Ukraine.

Crimea fully supplies itself with bread and flour products.

“We have already gathered 1.1 million tonnes of spring cereals, including 660,000 tonnes of wheat,” Crimea’s agriculture minister said.

Ukraine’s decision to cut water supplies on the North Crimean Canal had no disastrous impact on Crimea. Its vegetable production, according to Polyushkin, has dropped by just 5% since last year.

Crimea fully meets its needs in fruit and vegetables and produces 70% of meat and 77% of eggs.

Crimea does not have conditions for food shortages or rapid price hikes. Crimea’s Agriculture Ministry plans to organize fairs for farmers to fight sanctions-whipped speculative moods in retail trade.

Russia banned all imports of milk and dairy products from Ukraine on July 28, 2014 for safety reasons. Earlier, Russian agricultural watchdog (Rospotrebnadzor) banned the imports of Ukrainian potatoes, pork, cheese from 13 Ukrainian plants, juices, including baby food, spirits and beer from three Ukrainian breweries; canned vegetables, fruit and fish from seven Ukrainian enterprises. Russia has restricted imports of confectionary products from Ukrainian factories owned by Pyotr Poroshenko’s (president of Ukraine) Roshen Company over claims to the quality and safety of sweets.

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