Will an embargo hurt Russian food supplies?


I translated this from Russian, so bear with me.

By: Rev JC

In connection with the situation around the Crimea U.S. and EU economic sanctions threaten Russia. Among the possible measures and called the introduction of the Russian Federation in relation to the trade embargo. If it comes to real action as embargoes affect the lives of ordinary Russians. Cmozhem we do without the hassle of food imports? Pravda. Ru versed in the matter.

Ukrainian political crisis threatens to turn back the introduction of economic sanctions against Russia. However, in the United States do not seem to realize that Russian businessmen took the news with enthusiasm, and economists also happily rubbing their hands – everyone expects that these sanctions will stimulate the development of the internal market and the increase in production. However, while the country will move towards self-sufficiency, and ordinary buyers face the risk of shortages of some goods.

Israeli potatoes, Brazilian meat, milk and cheese Baltic states. Spanish wines, Polish apples, Norwegian fish – whether Russian producers to quickly fill the empty supermarket shelves with their products? Are we to stand in long queues for “deficit”? What is the relationship between imported and domestic products in the Russian food market?


The main supplier of grain to Russia is Kazakhstan – roughly half of the total imports of these products comes to us from this country, is not yet a member of the WTO. Pretty hard to expect from the government Nazarbayev sharp turn against Russia, but even if it does happen, the Russians will not go without bread: the share of imported grain production for 2013 was only 1.2 percent compared to 98.8 percent of Russia in While in the Food Security Doctrine Russia Set minimum threshold of 95 percent.

Also, you should consider the fact that in the case of the economic blockade of the country the products that are now exported abroad, rush to the domestic market. However, in this case, will face troubles in North Africa and the Middle East, which at the moment are the main consumers of Russian grain, it is unlikely that contribute to good relations between these countries and initiate trade sanctions against Russia.


Production of high quality beef is traditionally a problem of the domestic agro since Soviet-era emphasis in breeding cattle placed on dairy breed. Of all the beef produced in the country, only 10 per cent are specialized meat breeds, meat production is not an independent branch. No wonder that in the structure of consumption of beef in Russia on imports for about 37 percent.

The share of imports in the structure of Russian pork consumption is also very high, hovering around 30 percent. The main suppliers is Canada, the United States and Belarus. However, in recent years there has been a downward trend in the share of imports of pork to Russia, but to talk about independence from foreign supplies while clearly premature. While the level of their own to ensure meat products behind the norms prescribed in the Doctrine of 7.7 percent, however, most experts tend to believe that this gap is due to the openness of the Russian market for foreign manufacturers, so compulsory economic blockade may provoke in the future growth in meat production country.

If domestic breeders have yet to ramp up production, the domestic poultry market fared much better. At the moment, the share of imported chicken is only about 10 percent of total consumption. And it is worth noting that the largest volume of this amount of products from Belarus, mostly chilled meat. The volume of supply of frozen chicken from the U.S., Canada and Brazil is gradually decreasing.

Fish and seafood

Since Russia has traditionally ranked fifth in the world catch of fish and seafood products to fear a lack of data should not Russians. However, some types of rvby still imported into the country, including major suppliers of fish in Russia is Norway, Iceland, Estonia and the Faroe Islands. These countries on our shelves comes salmon, herring, trout, sprat and herring. However, the overall share of imports does not exceed 20 percent of total consumption, and this figure continues to decline. Therefore, it is obvious that without fish Russians will not go even if Russia from all sides will impose sanctions, may have to go with seabass cod, but it’s not the biggest problem.

Dairy produce

But with milk and dairy products, things are not so rosy. Imports of dairy products in Russia is growing, especially the sharp increase in the share of imports came after the country’s accession to the WTO. At the moment, the main suppliers of milk, cream, cheese, condensed milk and powdered milk in Russia is Belarus, Finland, Germany, Ukraine, New Zealand. The share of imports in the consumption of dairy products Russians different ranges from 30 to 60 percent (mainly manufactured in Belarus). In addition, the role of exporters for its dairy products to Russian stores traditionally by Lithuania and Poland. So here the Russians, in which case, have a bit more complicated.

Vegetables and fruit

Sad to admit that Russia with its vast territories not currently able to fully support yourself even such traditional Russian foods like potatoes and apples (the share of imported apples close to 75 percent). Two-thirds of all fruit market in Russia – is imported products, vegetables same romp within 20-40 percent of the total consumption, depending on the particular crop year.

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However, the loss of Russian farmers depend not only on the climatic fluctuations. The big problem is, for example, a lack of quality vegetable stores, the ability to store the harvest until spring, losses from improper storage can make in some cases, nearly half of the total harvest. Low level of implementation in the domestic agro contemporary research deprives Russian products competitive advantage over foreign fruits and vegetables – large retailers are more willing to take “oak” foreign apples, carefully sorted, well-kept and attractive to look at, rather than local produce. The Netherlands and Belgium have driven us potatoes, Poland – apples and cabbage, Spain and Turkey – cucumbers and tomatoes (by the way, those vegetables that are sold in the markets under the brand name “Azerbaijan” is often in fact are also Turkish), China – onions, potatoes and apples. Israel – carrots, peppers.

It is only the “top” position, in practice, Russia is now self-sufficient in only one product – beets. However, in contrast to meat production, increase grown vegetables can be quite fast.

It should be noted that Russia fully cover their needs in the sugar, vegetable oil, chicken eggs.

But to speak now introducing a full embargo on Russia rather prematurely, such extreme measures of Western leaders, disgruntled Russian foreign policy steps, do not even start talking. This is not surprising – after the closing of such a broad market hit primarily not by the Russians (we only get any temporary difficulties in those resources that Russia has, to establish an autonomous existence, we can without problems), and on the economy of the countries themselves, imposing sanctions .

But even if we imagine the fantastic scenario of complete blockage, it is evident that, although the Russians will have to shrink to their needs some time to wait for a serious hunger is not necessary – in refrigerators will definitely be chicken, fish, bread and bakery products, eggs, oil rastititelno and sugar. Yes, and other products will not disappear completely – most still produced in Russia.

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Nadezhda Alexeeva




  1. You could certainly see your enthusiasm within the article you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. All the time follow your heart.

  2. Having read this I believed it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


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