The relationship between the European Union and Russia will be discussed at the annual Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum in 10 days time.
This has refuelled hopes that a two year old Russian Federation ban on the import of certain food products from the European Union might be discussed.
Moscow imposed the ban in August 2014 in response to penalties imposed on it by the United States and the EU over its actions in Ukraine Forum organisers have confirmed the Russia-EU relationship will be very prominent on the agenda for the June 16, 17 and 18 gathering which will held undet the auspices of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
IFA president, Joe Healy, said that the attendance of EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at the Forum should be used as an opportunity to make real progress on the re-opening of the Russian market to EU food exports.
Mr Healy said the Russian ban has contributed to the prolonged and severe farm income crisis across Europe.
Some 25% of the EU’s pigmeat exports went to Russia and two million tonnes of dairy products were exported there before the sanctions were imposed.
“Not only has it deprived us of access to the Russian market, but it has also displaced product from other EU countries that was destined for Russia. Given the export profile of Irish agriculture, this has had a severe impact on prices paid to producers here,” he said.
Copa and Cogeca, the umbrella bodies for European farmers and co-ops, have also urged the Commission to step up efforts to re-open the Russian market.
Copa vice-president Henri Brichard said EU farmers, especially in the livestock and fruit and vegetable sectors, are in a critical situation, fueled by the Russian ban.
Pork prices are less than they were 11 years ago and milk prices over 40% below 2015 levels, he said.
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