MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will decide next week whether to impose a quarantine on pig farms in the southern region of Krasnodar, a measure that could ultimately affect some grain exports, due to outbreaks of highly contagious African Swine Fever (ASF), the head of Russia’s food safety watchdog said on Friday.
Russia, the world’s second-largest wheat exporter, is considering the quarantine due to 10 incidents this month of ASF in the region, which is one of its key areas for grain exports via the Black Sea.
“We will take the decision next week based on the development which we have,” the safety watchdog head, Sergei Dankvert said in an interview with Rossiya 24 state TV.
Dankvert said the quarantine would affect grain exports because some grain is coming from villages and farms where ASF had been detected.
“We are bearing responsibility before our partners in other countries,” he said, adding that the quarantine would be an unwelcome development for the region.
The watchdog, or Rosselkhoznadzor, said on Thursday there was no immediate need to impose any significant restrictions, including export restrictions.
Rosselkhoznadzor’s spokesman Aleksey Alekseenko confirmed to Reuters on Friday that the watchdog has not changed its mind.
The Agriculture Ministry declined to comment. Dankvert was not immediately available for further comment.
However, some industry experts said they did not expect any restrictions to be significant.
“According to the current rules, a quarantine imposes a special regime within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) around a farm hurt by ASF, so it would be enough to avoid taking grain from these (damaged) areas,” the head of IKAR agriculture consultancy said.
“Let’s hope that the influence on the grain market, if any, will be very insignificant,” Dmitry Rylko added.
Reporting by Polina Devitt; editing by Andrey Ostroukh, Greg Mahlich