Russian National Union of meat processors has asked the agricultural ministry to restrict poultry exports to battle one of the strongest price hikes the domestic market has seen in nearly a decade, Russian Gazette, a Russian government’s official publication, reported.
Meat processors want the authorities to consider imposing export duties on broiler meat or setting an export quota. In May 2023, the wholesale price of broiler meat on the Russian market reached 175-185 roubles (US$2.19 – US$2.31) per kg, which is 30% more compared to the previous year.
The prices keep growing though the Russian poultry industry is expanding production capacities. This year, the output is expected to reach 5.38 million tonnes, against 5.3 million tonnes in 2022. Exports are also rising, last year reaching 339,700 tonnes – the highest figure recorded. All forecasts see this year’s sales to foreign customers climbing further.
To some extent, the price rally is attributed to the avian influenza epidemic in Russia, the Russian Gazette assumed. In 2023, the Russian veterinary body Rosselhoznadzor registered 45 outbreaks in 22 regions, including 9 at poultry farms. So far, the epidemic is under control, though in May, the number of outbreaks jumped, sparking concerns among Russian veterinary officials.
Sergey Yushin, head of the Russian National Meat Association, called the idea of restricting poultry imports senseless and even harmful. He expressed confidence that Russia has enough chicken to meet domestic demand.
On the other hand, poultry meat in Russia remains the cheapest source of protein. Cheese and meat remain more expensive, which is particularly important now when the average consumer in the country is downsizing their food budget, according to Yushin. For years, poultry prices in Russia have been growing slower than inflation in Russia.
Indirectly, the recent price hike in the poultry market has also driven up pork prices because processors are switching from pork fillet to cheaper cuts to save money, the Russian Gazette stated.
The price hike on the poultry market is unlikely to be linked with the avian influenza epidemic or poultry exports, said Sergey Lakhtyukhov, general director of the Russian national union of poultry farmers. In 2023, sales to foreign customers remain mostly at the level of the previous year, but domestic demand surged in recent weeks due to a barbecue season in the country and a growing number of customers opting for more dietary poultry meat, Lakhtyukhov explained.