Russia’s decision this week to place a 12 month ban on food imports from the West including Australia in response to sanctions over Ukraine is unlikely to impact Australia’s export lamb and mutton industry.
Meat & Livestock Australia chief economist Tim McRrae said Australia has exported about 1000t of lamb and 2000t of mutton to Russia so far this year.
“They take a very small percentage of total shipments,” Mr McRae told Sheep Central this morning.
Russia, along with China, is a major customer of Australian lambskin and sheepskin exports, however, there is no indication yet that the ban on food products will extend to skin products as well.
The National Farmers Federation president Brent Finlay said the severity of total impact to the broader farm sector is still to be determined.
“Firstly, the Australian Government needs to seek greater clarity on the details of the ban and determine what this may mean for the sectors affected,” Mr Finlay said.
“Secondly, we need a strong commitment from the Australian Government to work closely with the farm sector to facilitate the movement of produce to alternative markets, which would have otherwise been exported to Russia.
“As it stands, a key concern for Australia will be around the global marketplace and the flow-on effects to the Australian farm sector, a cornerstone of the Australian economy.
“As the ban was placed on a number of key western trading partners, we may see increased competition from these players affected by the ban, as they look to sell their products to other markets.
“With more produce potentially coming onto the market, we may see a shift in current supply arrangements and, in the worst case scenario, a drop in prices for Australian produce – ultimately hitting the back pockets of Australian farmers.
“More broadly, this reiterates the NFF’s call to ensure bilateral trade agreements with other nations have commercially meaningful outcomes and the need to further develop relationships with other trading partners during this period,” said Mr Finlay.
Related Beef Central article: Russian ban: beef, cattle and roo meat exports in spotlight