Paying the price of Russia's food import ban

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Paying the price of Russia's food import ban

Paying the price of Russia's food import ban
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A U-turn at the Russian border may be the only choice for truckers delivering produce from the European Union, after Moscow banned imports of most food from the West.

Frustration is already clear at the frontier with Finland with long queues building up as the embargo, imposed by Russia in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine, takes immediate effect.

Highlighting the impact on the German market, the country’s farming minister Christian Schmidt argues it won’t be hit as hard as the public might believe.

He says that in the last nine months or so: “Russia has already been a changeable customer, and our exports of meat and milk have dropped dramatically.”

In Greece, some believe the ban could benefit local consumers – forcing prices down as exporters have to sell at home produce they can no longer ship to Russia.

Athens fruit salesman Spilios Nassopoulos said: “People will eat at a discount. It is just that the producers won’t get the income they have had. That is the only problem. The producers will be hit. But the people in the cities will eat cheap fruit.”

Imported food accounts for 43 percent of what Russians eat.

Half of the cheese consumed in Russia comes from abroad as well as nearly two thirds of the vegetables, and around a quarter of the beef and pork.

But some shoppers in Moscow see the ban as an opportunity.

“I think it is the right decision,” said Alla, as she made her purchases in a supermarket in the Russian capital.

“I think our producers need to start working to make their products available to us so that we can start buying our own produce.”

Russia’s one year ban covers all meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the 28 European Union countries, Canada, Australia and non-EU member Norway.