Russia has list of countries to replace sanctioned food importers - Agriculture Minister

Russia has a list of countries to import food in place of those against which Russia has imposed sanctions, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov said on Channel One program Vesti Saturday.

Russia has a list of countries to import food in place of those against which Russia has imposed sanctions, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov said on Channel One program Vesti Saturday.

"Prospective countries for us as concerns supplies of fruits and vegetables include Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Tajikistan, and to some extent Kyrgyzstan," he said, adding that Turkey, Iran and Serbia were also possible suppliers. "Very prospective countries are Iran, Morocco, and Egypt. They need our products, in particular grain and vegetable oil, and we need fruits, vegetables, berries and citrus fruits," Fyodorov said.

He added that another powerful market that is "knocking on our doors" is Latin America. "This is Chili, Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador and Peru. We are holding talks with them and they have lined up to increase shipments of their products to us," Fyodorov said, noting that Russia itself would replace Norwegian fish imports.

"Last year we exported 2 million tonnes of fish products, while imports were just under 1 million [tonnes]. Our domestic fish products have huge potential; we just need to agree with trading networks to redirect export flows for domestic consumption," he said.

Fyodorov added that Russian sanctions on food imports from a number of western countries would not bring about a deficit or an increase in prices.

"We have been meeting with representative from trading networks everyday and agreeing on the rules of conduct under conditions in which our country is being tested. It is nice that the trading networks that some like to criticize have complete understanding," he said.

Initially, problems may arise with "very expensive cheese from Italy and France [and] with oysters and mussels," Fyodorov said.

"But this isn't the sector that can hurt the country. This is the premium class and is not significant. Our job is to support Russian farmers first and foremost," he said.

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