The Belarusian Ministry of Agriculture commented on the food embargo on a number of products as of January 1. It claims that Belarus has long been ensuring its own food security, and that the country has a double stock of meat and dairy products. The range will only expand, so the consumer will not suffer. Fruit and vegetables will also be present on the shelves.
Alexei Bogdanov, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food of Belarus: "Of course, in the off-season, we import some vegetables and fruits, but we don't expect any problems here either.” Tvr.by reported that, according to Bogdanov, the food embargo will not affect the export plans.
Belarus counts on supplies of fruits and veg from Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan has potential for increasing the supplies of fruit and vegetable products, Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko has said. According to an article on tvr.by, Ulvi Bakhshaliyev, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Belarus, has recently headed the diplomatic mission and he is going to pay great attention to increasing bilateral trade turnover. Last year, it rose up to 440 million dollars, and this year it will increase by 20%.
Balkan nations not worried about import ban
The Belarusian ban is unlikely to have much impact on Albania, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, due to their limited trade with Belarus. Although not part of the EU, they have joined recent increased EU and Western sanctions on Belarus, imposed over the migrant crisis at the Polish border.
The ban covers imports from the EU, the United States, Canada, Britain, Norway, Albania, Iceland, Northern Macedonia, and Montenegro.
Freshfel Europe expresses deep concerns
Freshfel Europe, on behalf of the European fresh produce sector, is expressing deep concerns about the far-reaching implications of this new restriction. This ban is challenging about 10% of current EU exports. Read the Freshfel statement here.
Import ban could be disastrous for Dutch and Belgian pears
The news came as a surprise for several Dutch and Belgian exporters. "It could be disastrous," says Tony Derwael of Bel'export about the import boycott. This Belgian company trades products such as pears. Tony says he was shocked by the news which took him completely unawares despite the unrest caused by the flow of migrants in the region.
Tony estimates about 50,000 tons of Belgian and Dutch pears head for Belarus annually. "The loss of such a volume could spell disaster for prices." He adds that exports to Belarus are mainly Class B pears. "These are doing quite well in the current market for now," Tony says.
"I don't think it'll affect prices right away," responds Joost Priem of Calsa. This Belgian wholesaler's activities include pear exports. Calsa's trade with Belarus is limited, so, for them, the impact will be limited, and Joost does not expect any general problems for the time being. "There's not so much current demand from the East. It's coming from other parts of Europe. The Eastern European countries will certainly also come to the market in January," he concludes.