By Bruce Cochrane
The chair of Manitoba Pork is voicing concern over news that Russia has banned the import of Canadian pork and pork products for one year.
Russia is responding to new sanctions imposed over the crisis in Ukraine by banning certain food imports from Canada, the U.S., the European Union, Australia, and Norway, including meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruits and vegetables for a year.
Karl Kynoch, the chair of Manitoba Pork, says the loss of the Russia market will force Canadian processors to seek alternative markets and that will definitely impact pricing for awhile.
Karl Kynoch-Manitoba Pork:
Russia is actually the fourth largest pork buyer of pork out of Canada right behind the United States, Japan and China and then we have Russia coming into place.
In 2012 Canada actually exported $492,000,000 of Canadian pork over to Russia.
In 2013 that dropped down to 260 but in 2014 we were headed for very good numbers.
In the period of January to May of 2014 Canada had already exported $213,000,000 of Canadian pork into Russia.
Russia has been one of the markets that we've managed to gain a lot of access to lately but for Manitoba, when you compare it to Canada, Canada exports 50% of the product that is produced in Canada but when you get into Manitoba we actually export 85% of the product that's produced in our province here.
So any time you lose something like Russia, which is the fourth largest market, it will definitely have an impact on product leaving Manitoba as well as Canada for now.
Kynoch suggests, if Russia is importing $500,000,000 worth of pork products out of Canada and they cut that off, it will artificially inflate the price of pork for the Russian people.
He questions why Russia's government would want to hurt its own people but, he acknowledges, when you get into politics and governments reacting to current crisis anything can happen.