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Aust farmers concerned with Russia's food imports ban

12 August, 2014

The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) has expressed its concern over Russia's decision to impose a ban on food imports from Australia, a market that contributes roughly $400 million to Australia's economy each year.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the year-long ban would affect imports on beef, pork, fruit, vegetables, poultry, fish and dairy products from the EU, US, Australia, Canada and Norway.

NFF President Brent Finlay said the farm sector was concerned about disruptions to export markets due to the fact Australia exports over 60 per cent of its agricultural produce, and is inherently export orientated.

"We expect some Australian farmers to directly feel the effects of the sanctions. However, the severity of total impact to the farm sector is still to be determined," said Finlay.

"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.

"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.

Effects on Australian farm sector

"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 Finlay.

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will | Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 11:26 AM
Don't support Putin by feeding his army, Tony Abbott has opened up more than 400 million for Australian Farmers a few months ago straight into Japan and other trade deals for agriculture, Look on the bright side and stop being negative, Tony Abbott was obviously thinking ahead.
Geoff Moran | Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 11:50 AM
As a farmer I agree totally. we survived without the trade to Russia before and we can do it again. If we are not careful we will have another dictatorship in Russia and will be looking at a European war again. We cannot depend upon the European countries having any backbone while they depend upon Russian gas to keep warm in winter. Maybe they need to look at restarting some of their coal fired power stations again so as to be able to be self sufficient for power and heating.
ES | Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 4:24 PM
... And everyone elsewhere is just waiting for our produce, as they cannot export their own to Russia for the same reason....
Jack | Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 5:00 PM
Yes, believe we shouldn't support Putin. There will always be a way out for farmers, we will always want more markets and I believe the markets that have been opened up to agriculture recently will far outweigh any losses of not supplying to Russia, I have been farming for 43 years now and not supplying Russia will not have any adverse effects especially in what has been put in place with open trade deals recently in the asia pacific region