By Andria Kades
Russian authorities have completed checks at six meat and dairy companies on the island that could export products to the country provided the current ban on food imports from the EU is lifted.
The embargo, introduced in August 2014 was a response to Western sanctions imposed on Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis.
The checks between April 27 and 30 involved four meat processing facilities and two dairy producers that have never exported to Russia, according to the veterinary services’ Ramon Papadopoulos.
The inspectors are expected to return to Russia where the reports will be discussed before it is decided which producers will be approved for collaboration with the Russian Federation and the Eurasian Economic Union.
Large dairy producers and most fish farms have already been approved from previous inspections.
Papadopoulos specified that the inspectors’ role is simply to approve producers but not find clients, meaning interested Cypriot companies would have to engage with Russian businesses for exports.
Russia has also conducted 20 inspections in Greece and Hungary that may also have the embargo lifted as well as five companies in India.
Before the 2014 embargo, Cyprus used to export large quantities of fish and halloumi to Russia, Papadopoulos said.
In 2013, the island exported 211 tonnes of fish and 87 tonnes. There were 20 tonnes of dairy products, primarily halloumi, exported in 2011, 21.5 tonnes in 2012 and 27.5 tonnes in 2013.