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Russia mulls plans to replace hatching eggs imports from EU

The Russian government plans to support the domestic production of hatching eggs to replace restricted imports from the European Union.

At the end of 2020, Russian veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor barred 23 Italian and 16 Czech companies from exporting hatching eggs to the Russian market. Rosselkhoznadzor also prohibited imports from the Netherlands, which alone exported around 240 million hatching eggs to Russia on average per year.

Russia imports roughly 20% of hatching eggs, primarily from the EU. Photo: Bart Nijs
Russia imports roughly 20% of hatching eggs, primarily from the EU. Photo: Bart Nijs

This year, import restrictions on the European countries have been expanded. From mid-March, a total ban on the supply of live poultry and poultry products to Russia was put in place in relation to the German and the Czech regions affected by avian influenza.

Russia imports roughly 20% of hatching eggs, primarily from the EU. Veterinary restrictions sparked price volatility on the domestic market, which is believed to be one of the main causes of the upward price rally on the broiler meat market. Sergei Lakhtyukhov, chairman of the Russian Union of Poultry Producers, estimated that Russia imported 700 million hatching eggs in 2020.

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In April, it was reported that the price per hatching egg on the Russian market had nearly doubled in the past months, reaching 30 Roubles (US$ 0.35).

At that time, the Russian government rolled out plans to subject hatching eggs to a 5% import tax starting 1 January 2022. A further raise of 15% is set for 2023. In a recent statement, the Russian Agricultural Ministry promised to design a comprehensive programme aimed at expanding the domestic production of hatching eggs.

In particular, the Russian Agricultural Ministry is working on a regulatory act providing for the reimbursement of capital costs for the construction and modernisation of facilities for the production of hatching eggs from 2022," the Ministry said in a statement.

In addition, the Ministry develops "a package of additional measures needed to preserve the financial stability of producers and stabilise prices for poultry and eggs", among them an increase in the limit on concessional short-term loans for market players to 1.5 billion Roubles (US$ 20 million) per borrower, and prolongation of concessional investment loans for up to 12 years to the companies affected by bird flu.

The Ministry explained that the decision is needed to mitigate the impact of import problems on the price of broiler meat and eggs on the Russian market. The Ministry also plans to consider a partial compensation of the costs per kilogramme of manufactured and sold products to constrain this year's rise in price.