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Russia’s agricultural embargo endangers Lithuanian livestock sector

August 18, 2014, 15:04 UTC+3 VILNIUS

Prices for meat and milk that have fallen considerably are actually turning agricultural production into a non-profitable business

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© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

VILNIUS, August 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s ban on agricultural imports from the European Union in retaliation to western sanctions may ruin the livestock sector of Lithuania, which is an EU member state, Lithuanian Agricultural Chamber head Andrejus Stancikas said on Monday.

“The swine fever has delivered a powerful blow to pig breeding while the Russian embargo has hit the dairy and meat sector,” Stancikas said.

Prices for meat and milk that have fallen considerably are actually turning agricultural production into a non-profitable business, compelling farmers to think about changing the area of their activities, the head of the Lithuanian Agricultural Chamber said.

“A real danger exists that only crop growing will survive in the Lithuanian agribusiness,” he said.

The Lithuanian government’s estimates show that Russia’s food and agricultural embargo will deprive Lithuania of 250 million litas (€73 million) in the meat industry, 200 million litas (€58 million) in dairy production, 28 million litas (€8 million) in crop growing (vegetables and fruits) and 5 million litas (€1.5 million) in the country’s fishing industry.

Russia's sanctions

In response to western sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree in early August to ban for one year the imports of agricultural, raw and food products from the countries that imposed sanctions against Russia over its stance on the developments in neighboring Ukraine.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier announced that the Russian government had imposed a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.

The list of the banned products includes cattle meat (fresh, chilled and refrigerated), pork (fresh, chilled and refrigerated), poultry meat and all poultry edible by-products, salted meat, pickled meat, dried meat, smoked meat, fish and shell fish, clams and other water invertebrates, milk and dairy products, vegetables, edible roots and tuber crops, fruits and nuts, sausage and analogous meat products, meat by-products or blood, as well as products made of them, ready-to-eat products including cheeses and cottage-cheese based on vegetable fats.

According to various estimates by European experts, Russia’s food sanctions block EU’s exports worth a total of over €7 billion ($9.4 billion).

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