11 Aug 2022 21:19

Nothing political about Moldovan agricultural product import ban, requirements are same for all countries - Rosselkhoznadzor

MOSCOW. Aug 11 (Interfax) - Russia's decision to restrict the import of horticultural products from several Moldovan regions is not political and has valid grounds; the requirements are equivalent for all suppliers, the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phyto-sanitary Supervision (Rosselkhoznadzor) stated on Thursday.

The agency's comments came after Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Nicu Popescu suggested on the Moldova 1 television channel that the Russian ban might be political.

"There is no political undercurrent in the ban. Rosselkhoznadzor applies equivalent measures to all countries that are not prepared to comply with Russia's phyto-sanitary requirements for product delivery. Ensuring Russia's phyto-sanitary welfare is [Rosselkhoznadzor's] priority; the spread of quarantine organisms could inflict irreparable economic damage on the country's fruit farming."

Over the past nine years, Rosselkhoznadzor and its Moldovan counterparts together carried out the regionalization of Moldovan territory to determine which areas were free from plant pests and diseases. "For these purposes, the agencies examined areas of the cultivation of fruit crops. Regrettably, Moldova cannot be considered a safe country from the phyto-sanitary standpoint. Thus, ten different quarantine organisms were found in 80 batches of Moldovan products in 2021 alone. Rosselkhoznadzor has repeatedly formally notified the Moldovan side of systemic failings and asked it to take urgent rectifying measures."

However, the export of unsafe products continued. In late January 2022 Rosselkhoznadzor warned Moldova's National Food Safety Agency that it would have to resort to restrictive measures unless the situation changed drastically.

"In July 2022 the situation deteriorated yet again. The export of unsafe products resumed. The Moldovan side failed to react to our letters and took no effective measures. Over the month, 13 batches were found to contain five dangerous quarantine organisms, including three types of insect, one disease and a weed plant. Quarantine organisms were detected in the batches of white and red cherry, apple and peaches," the statement said.

As reported earlier, Russia bans imports of crop farming products from 31 districts of Moldova, as well as the autonomous region of Gagauzia and the municipalities of Chisinau and Balti starting from August 15.