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Russian sanctions could lead to fruit and vegetable price cuts

TIT FOR tat sanctions imposed by Russia over the Ukraine crisis could lead to widespread price cuts for fruit and vegetables in supermarkets.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a moratorium on food imports from both the European Union, hitting ­Scotland's exports, and the US in retaliation to the sanctions levied against his country over the ongoing crisis.

It is likely to lead to the knock on effect of a surplus in the domestic food market, leading to unprecedented price drops on local produce shelves.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said the Russian prohibition could mean even cheaper produce at a time when supermarkets are selling them off at record lows.

He said: "It is a reasonable proposition that the producers and distributions of fresh fruit and veg currently exported to Russia will look to other markets — either existing ones in Britain and the rest of Europe or further afield.

"It could potentially be very good news for shoppers already benefitting from record low prices in shops, and a time when household incomes remain under pressure."

Leigh Sparks, professor of retail studies at Stirling University added: "It is a fact that producers could store some fruit and veg, like apples, but that others will have to be got on the market as quickly as possible.

"If the products which would have been destined for Russian come on to the market just as the season is ending, then it could prolong the low summer prices."

While consumers are likely to enjoy low-cost produce, experts have warned the trading ban could pose a deleterious impact on the Scottish economy,with fishing and whisky industries thought to be at the greatest risk.

The mackerel industry — which exports around £16 million worth of produce to Russian each year — has already seen some orders cancelled, with stock left to sit in the docks.

Furthermore, Scotland's fishing competitors in Iceland and the Faroe Islands have not yet been banned from importing to Russia.

Whisky firms, however, say the Russian food embargo has not yet affected their sales but would be 'monitoring the situation'.

The UK is just one of the many western countries who approved the economic sanctions being placed on Russian last month in response to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Donetsk on July 17.

Western countries have accused pro-Russian rebel militias, some of which armed by Moscow itself, of shooting the plane down and killing all 298 souls on board.

International pressure has mounted on Russia as the west continues to demand the Kremlin stay out of the Ukraine crisis.

Elsewhere, the Australian Government have also indicated they would consider a ban on importing uranium to Russia.

Contextual targeting label: 
Food and drink

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