Russia, the largest export market for U.S. chicken, has announced that it may not need to import poultry meat beginning in 2011.
"I think that next year and in the following years we basically can do without the imports," said Russian Prime Minister Valdimir Putin. In September, Russia's top meat producer Cherkizovo said the country might become self-sufficient in poultry meat before 2013, the original target set by the Agriculture Ministry. This news comes on the heels of recently resumed exports from the U.S. to Russia after a ban went into effect in January 2010 over Russia's concerns about a chlorine rinse used in U.S. processing plants.
While in 2009 the U.S. shipped 733,000 metric tons of poultry meat to Russia, the number for 2010 currently sits at only 300,000 metric tons. "Quite often our sanitary authorities have doubts about the production, transportation and storage of the products," said Putin. In response to such concerns, and to the furthering of the original 2013 deadline, Russia's production of poultry meat has risen by more than 70 percent in recent years.