The Australian food industry has expressed concerns about the negative impact that Russia’s food embargo may have on its producers, especially beef and dairy, according to media reports.
“Producers are concerned and disappointed, particularly in Queensland where we are experiencing such difficult drought conditions,” Charles Burke, chief executive of Queensland agricultural lobby group AgForce, was quoted as saying by The West Australian.
Queensland, which has more than half of Australia’s cattle, is likely to be the hardest hit, with its beef cattle farmers suffering the biggest losses.
“Russia is not a huge market, but, yes, it will have an impact. When you’ve got a big jigsaw puzzle like agricultural exports, to lose even a little piece will have an impact,” Burke said, The West Australian reported.
The food ban will also have dire consequences for Australian dairy producers, The Australian cited Gary Helou, chief executive of Australian dairy company Murray Goulburn, as saying.
“Russia is a very important dairy market for us, as important as China, so this is going to take a little while for us to get our heads around its impact,” Helou said to The Australian.
He also expressed concerns that with Australian dairy products banned from Russia, it would be harder for Australian producers to withstand competition from rivals in other countries, including those from neighboring New Zealand.
This news arrives to Australia in light of the country’s record unemployment rate. In July, it reached 6.4 percent, a 0.4 percent rise from June. Big companies across Australia conducted layoffs, cutting hundreds of jobs. The number of unemployed people increased by 300 over a month.
On August 6, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that banned for a year imports of agricultural and food products from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia.
The banned products include meat, poultry, fish, seafood, milk, dairy products, fruits and vegetables from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway. The embargo does not include infant foods and products.