8 Apr 2019 11:15

Belarus ready to pivot to deliveries of boneless beef to Russia - official

MINSK. April 8 (Interfax) - Belarus is ready to adjust its production of beef for export to Russia following the ban on imports of bone-in meat, said the head of the Belarusian Ministry of Agriculture and Food's Main Department for Foreign Economic Activity, Alexei Bogdanov.

"The ban [on delivering bone-in beef to Russia] doesn't cause big problems for us. We're now working to revise the structure of production in order to produce more processed meat," Bogdanov said.

The production of more intensively processed meat is in keeping with the global trend, as it allows exports of products with higher added value, he said. "We're ready for this," he added.

Russian demand for beef is not decreasing, and work to conclude contracts is underway, Bogdanov said.

He also said that Belarus is working to be designated as a country with a controlled risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) by the World Organization for Animal Health, as it has a good track record in this regard, having never registered a case of the disease. "I think we'll receive this status soon," he said.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture of Food, Belarus exported about 90,000 tonnes of bone-in beef to Russia in 2018, about 70% of Belarus's total beef exports to Russia.

On April 4, as part of Russia's designation as a country with a controlled risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision (Rosselkhoznadzor) banned the import of bone-in beef and live cattle from countries that do not have that status, including Belarus.