December 1, 2016 / 12:46 PM / 3 years ago

Russian watchdog proposes swine fever quarantine in Krasnodar

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s agriculture safety watchdog has proposed quarantining the entire southern region of Krasnodar to prevent African Swine Fever (ASF) from spreading, it said in a statement on Thursday, a measure that could hit some grain exports.

The watchdog, known as Rosselkhoznadzor in Russian, had been expected to consider just quarantining some areas of Krasnodar, which is a major grain exporter via the Black Sea.

The decision about whether to impose a quarantine or not will be taken by the Krasnodar regional administration and may come on Friday, watchdog spokesman Aleksey Alekseenko said.

The regional administration did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

ASF is a highly contagious fever among pigs. Analysts have said a quarantine could limit the transportation of grain due to concerns the fever could be transmitted via animal feed.

“The decision is yet to be taken. Let’s see what set of measures it takes,” Alekseenko said when asked how badly a quarantine could affect grain exports.

A quarantine would not stop exports of grain from other regions via the Black Sea ports of the Krasnodar region if certain safety measures are taken, he said.

Krasnodar imposed a special regime within 5 km of farms affected by ASF in three areas earlier this week, though all were far from the Black Sea.

There were 10 outbreaks of swine fever in Krasnodar in November, according to Rosselkhoznadzor.

According to agriculture consultancy SovEcon, there were also signs of ASF in the district with the Black Sea ports of Tuapse and Yeysk. They supplied a combined 1.2 million tonnes of grain in July-September, or 9 percent of Russian grain exports.

Reporting by Polina Devitt and Olga Popova; editing by David Clarke

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