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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Looks at Alternative S. American Meat Suppliers

Russia, facing a meat shortage due to bans on shipments from major exporters Brazil and Argentina, is seeking alternative suppliers in Latin America, Sergei Dankvert, the country's chief animal and plant health official said Monday.

"We have started this work at the beginning of last year -- since then, we have inspected Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile. And now we are working with Colombia and Bolivia, and we expect to allow some companies from these countries to start trading with us," Dankvert said.

He said that meat imports to Russia from Colombia and Bolivia had previously been banned to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease.

Russia on Dec. 13 imposed a ban on imports of live animals, beef and pork from eight Brazilian states: Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Goias, Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Parana, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina.

It had earlier also banned imports from the states of Para and Amazonas. Earlier this month Russia lifted a ban on meat from Rio Grande do Sul.

Prior to the latest ban, Russia had been Brazil's main beef and pork outlet.

In March, Argentina, another big supplier of beef to Russia, suspended all beef exports to curb rising prices at home. Russia banned meat imports from the Argentine province of Corrientes due to foot-and-mouth disease.

Meat producers have said that falling supplies from the two Latin American countries would push prices up and hurt meat processors.

Dankvert said that he did not expect the ban to be lifted soon from more Brazilian states, as Moscow feared that there could be delays between a local outbreak of a disease and its official recognition by federal authorities.

"There are problems in Brazil. Some local authorities appear to disobey orders from the federal authorities," he said.