Written by Kester Kenn Klomegah | From Spy Ghana
The Russian market has always been attractive for many Western and European countries, many have exported their agricultural products including fruits and vegetables for high profits. But that has changed recently as the United States, Western and European Union members have slapped Russia with sanctions for the political developments in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic.
Russia has also imposed reciprocal sanctions and introduced restrictions on the import of certain food and agricultural products from the European Union (EU), the United States, Canada, Australia and Norway. The products include meat, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, oils and other commodities.
In their recent remarks, the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov and Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev have pointed to the possibility of finding alternative sources for the aforesaid commodities by replacing European markets with markets in other countries. Russian authorities have been looking for potential agricultural products exporters in Latin American, Asian and African regions.
South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco have shown their preparedness to cooperate and are still looking at the possibility to boost exports of agricultural products especially fruits and vegetables to Russian food market to help fill in the gap after President Vladimir Putin slapped sanctions that severely limit food imports from those foreign countries.
In mid-Sept, Egyptian Minister for Industry and Trade, Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour, headed of a heavyweight delegation of Egyptian businessexecutives, industrialists and economists to Russia, among key areas for exploration was to discuss the possibility of giving a boost to food exports as requested by authorities to Russia.
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The Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov headed Russian delegation to discuss with the visiting Egyptian group with participation of Egypt’s Ambassador in the Russian Federation Moahamed al-Badri and Minister Plenipotentiary Mohammad Daoud, the head of commercial representation office, at the headquarters of the Egyptian Embassy in Moscow.
According to reports, Egypt will increase agriculture products to Russia, especially in light of the European ban imposed on Russia. The meeting tackled the needs of Russia’s market of the Egyptian products during the coming period. Abdel-Nour stressed that his visit to Moscow has opened new and larger avenues for Egyptian products on the Russian market. For his part, Fyodorov said Russia welcomes the Egyptian products on its markets, saying coordination is under way with Egyptian officials to tackle any obstacles hindering the movement of trade between the two countries.
The delegation includes heads of 64 major Egyptian companies operating in food industry and agricultural sector, participated in the World Food Moscow exhibition scheduled from September 15 -18. The Egyptian authorities said Cairo was ready to enlarge the list of traditionally supplied to Russia vegetable products, as well as to offer different kinds of dairy, meat and fish products.
In addition to Egypt, the Arab Republic of Tunisia has unreservedly promised to lend supporting hands to Russia. Tunisia is ready to supply products to Russia to replace imports from Europe, including olive oil, Tunisian Foreign Minister Mongi Hamdi said while on an official working visit to Moscow.
“We are ready to supply many goods that Russia does not receive from Europe now,” he said. Tunisia is ready to export olive oil, Mongi Hamdi said, adding that olive oil from the European Union (EU) was of worse quality. The minister informed further that they wanted to work without intermediaries.
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