700,000 euros found to redirect fish exports

he Agriculture Ministry says it will change the European Fisheries Fund 2007-2013 action plan to divert over 700,000 euros of unused funds to finding new markets for Estonian fisheries after the Russian ban on food imports.

Minister Ivari Padar said the fishing industry is planning to participate in trade fairs in Africa, Asia and Europe, and the ministry has already approved funding for six fairs around the world.

The Estonian part of the fund for the 2007 to 2013 budget period is 112.8 million euros, of which 28.2 million euros is financed from the state budget and the rest by the European Union.

Russia imposed an import ban on meat, fish, dairy, vegetables, fruit and food products, hitting the Estonian fish and dairy sector especially hard.

Source: ERR News

Potential new dairy importers to visit Estonia

Anne Sulling, the minister of Foreign Trade and Entrepreneurship, said potential customers to purchase Estonian dairy products will visit the country in November, good news for the industry, which was hit Russian import ban on food from EU nations.

Sulling said she does not want to go into details as of yet, as it may harm the negotiation process.

She said Estonia sent out product examples a month ago, only adding that the target markets lie outside of the European Union. She said the potential customers are coming to inspect Estonian production facilities.

Sulling said they have been working on finding new markets since the plan for the import ban was announced.

Dairy companies and the Estonian state have feuded over the exact state of the industry, with the sector asking for more state aid and holding a protest in Tallinn in September.

The Estonian Institute of Economic Research calculated the cost of the ban at 150 million euros annually, in both direct and indirect losses.

Cheese manufacturers are suffering the most, with their losses calculated at 27 million euros. Raw fish and fish products make up 15 million euros annually in exports to the eastern neighbor, with milk and dairy products in a similar bracket.

Source: ERR News

In August foreign trade decreased

According to Statistics Estonia, in August 2014, exports of goods decreased by 3% and imports by 6% at current prices compared to August of the previous year. The decrease in exports and imports was mostly influenced by the trade of mechanical appliances, electrical equipment and agricultural products and food preparations.

In August, exports from Estonia amounted to nearly 1 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.1 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit was 80 million euros and it decreased by 31 million euros compared to August 2013.

The biggest share in Estonia’s exports was held by electrical equipment (22% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by mineral products (11%), wood and products thereof and agricultural products and food preparations (9%). The fall in exports compared to August 2013 was due to the significant decrease in the exports of mechanical appliances (down by 20 million euros), textiles and products thereof (down by 8 million euros), electrical equipment, and agricultural products and food preparations (both down by 6 million euros). The biggest increase occurred in the exports of mineral products.

In August, the main commodities imported were electrical equipment (18% of Estonia’s total imports), mineral products (13%) and agricultural products and food preparations (11%). Compared to August 2013, the biggest decrease occurred in the imports of mechanical appliances (down by 18 million euros), electrical equipment (down by 17 million euros)  and agricultural products and food preparations (down by 10 million euros). At the same time, the imports of textiles and products thereof increased the most.

The top destination country of Estonia’s exports in August was Sweden (18% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by Finland (16%) and Latvia (11%). Electrical equipment and wood and products thereof were the main commodities exported to Sweden; electrical equipment and agricultural products and food preparations were the main commodities exported to Finland; mineral products and agricultural products and food preparations were the main commodities exported to Latvia. The biggest decrease occurred in exports to Russia (down by 23 million euros), to Latvia (down by 6 million euros) and to Lithuania (down by 4 million euros). In exports to Russia, the decrease was the highest in the dispatches of agricultural products and food preparations (incl. cheese, milk and cream, butter, whey, spirits) and mechanical appliances. In exports to Latvia, there was a decrease in the dispatches of textiles and products thereof and agricultural products and food preparations (incl. milk and cream, butter, cheese). In exports to Lithuania, the dispatches of electrical equipment decreased. Compared to August 2013, the increase was the biggest in exports to the USA.

The main countries of consignment in August were Finland (15% of Estonia’s total imports), Germany (12%), Lithuania (10%) and Sweden (10%). The main commodities imported were mineral products and electrical equipment from Finland, mechanical appliances and mineral products from Germany, mineral products and agricultural products and food preparations from Lithuania, and electrical and transport equipment from Sweden. Compared to August 2013, there was a decrease in imports from Sweden (down by 20 million euros), from the United Kingdom (down by 18 million euros) and from Poland (down by 11 million euros). There were decreased imports of electrical equipment from Sweden, decreased imports of mechanical appliances from the United Kingdom, and decreased imports of transport equipment from Poland. The increase was the biggest in imports from Germany.In August compared to July 2014, exports decreased by 3% and imports by 8%.

Read more from Statistics Estonia

African swine fever found in Estonian wild pig

A carcass of a wild pig that died of African swine fever, an animal disease that poses a severe threat to pork producers, was found in southern Estonia last week, government veterinary officials confirmed today.

“The infected dead wild pig was found six kilometers from the Latvian border. No domesticated animal has been diagnosed with the disease yet,” said Veterinary and Food Board director general Ago Pärtel in a statement. He reiterated calls for strict measures to keep the situation that way.

Wild pigs with the disease were found in Latvia earlier in the summer, and the virus is believed to have been present on the Estonian side of the border already earlier.

The disease in the Estonian pig was diagnosed by a EU lab in Spain.

There are 15 pig farming enterprises within an eight-kilometer radius of the carcass, which was found in Hummuli in southern Estonia. Partel has established additional strict measures on slaughter and movement of animals for these farms.

Agriculture Minister Ivari Padar said in a media statement: “Restrictions are likely on the way for export of live pigs. These do not impact meat and meat products.”

Source: ERR News

The cost of Russian import ban

The Estonian Institute of Economic Research has put a number on last month’s Russian ban on the import of food products, fish, meat, and fruit and vegetables from EU nations.

The direct loss is only 75 million euros, the sum of the banned products exported to Russia annually, while that figure doubles as many raw ingredients are exported to neighboring countries, which would have been processed and sent to Russia.

Cheese manufacturers are suffering the most, with their losses calculated at 27 million euros. Raw fish and fish products make up 15 million euros annually in exports to the eastern neighbor, with milk and dairy products in a similar bracket.

Losses from indirect exports to Russia are hitting the dairy industry the hardest.

Marje Josing, the head of the institute, said the figures are food for thought for companies which have failed to diversify markets, adding that businesses have played safe in comfortable schemes of selling raw material, instead of adding value or trying to crack Scandinavian or German markets.

She said looking at the bigger picture, the food industry is growing in the world, and demand is increasing.

Source: ERR News

Fish industry looking towards Africa

Russia sanctions and the turmoil in Ukraine have forced Estonian fisheries to look elsewhere for export markets, with Africa showing interest.

Head of the Estonian Fishing Association, Mart Undrest, said there is Baltic herring still to be sold and it will not keep beyond the end of September.

Undrest said the Russian and Ukrainian Baltic herring and sprat markets have dropped off and they have been actively seeking new markets, already netting some results.

The first shipment of a few hundred tons was sent to Africa in June and more was ordered, Undrest said, adding that it takes a little more than a month to transport the fish to Africa, and a second path should arrive there in a few weeks.

Source: ERR News

Products meant for Russian market can be sold in Estonia

Russian-bound food turned back at the border can be sold in Estonia if special permission has been granted by the Veterinary and Food Board and the sale outlet is furnished with Estonian-language information, the agency’s director said. To this point no company has pursued this option.

“It is allowed in exceptional cases to market food packaged for the Russian market in Estonia, if a company needs to do so,” said Ago Pärtel, the director general of the Veterinary and Food Board, on ERR radio.

Meanwhile, Pärtel said, the agency has been sending out letters to far-flung markets to inquire about import requirements for milk products. The countries included Indonesia, Taiwan, Kenya and Tanzania.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev announced on August 7 that Russia would slap a one-year ban on all EU, US, Australian, Canadian and Norwegian meat, dairy and produce. In particular, the Estonian dairy and fishery sector could be heavily impacted.

Source: ERR News

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