TALLINN - Russia's decision to ban, starting March 20, import of pigs, cattle and sheep from the European Union shocked Estonian pig farmers since they sell more than a half of pigs to Russia now, Postimees Online reports.
"About 80 percent of our pigs go to Russia, so if Russian ban is implemented, we are in big trouble," said Tartu Agro manager Aavo Molder. "This would automatically mean a fall of turnover since in Russia the price is by a fourth higher than in Estonia now."
Closing Russian market also would mean oversupply of pork in Estonia, which in long-term perspective might force some farmers close business, said OU Aiu Pollumajandus board member Alar Poldmaa.
Veterinary and Food Board export and import department head Regina Pihlakas said that out of 364,000 Estonian pigs, over 211,000 were sold to Russia last year and losing the Russian market would be a major setback for pig farmers.
Russian agriculture supervision institution Rosselhoznadzor explained the decision to ban import of pigs, cattle and sheep from the European Union with the spread of Schmallenberg and bluetongue viruses and non-compliance with certification requirement of live pigs. The decision can be changed at the meeting of EU and Russian representatives this week.