Russia's National Meat Association, told Reuters that Russian consumers are adjusting their purchases down to poultry due to the global economic crisis. As a result, Russia will likely decrease its 2009 meat import levels as officials there predict a 20 percent reduction in domestic consumption of pork and beef this year.

A spokesman for the group said Moscow should retain current import quotas on poultry and pork, but could raise beef quotas by 20 percent to 25 percent as domestic cattle numbers continue to fall. "We are unable to compete with many meat producers, and therefore we will have to keep import quotas for at least the next three years," according to the spokesman.

For the first two months of 2009, Russian pork imports declined 31 percent from last year to 53,000 tons. For the same period, beef imports decreased by more than 40 percent to 39,000 tons from the same period last year according to NMA data. Poultry imports fell 18 percent to 92,000 tons. Meanwhile, imports of beef offal and pork offal were up by 20 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

Moscow has increased its import quota for pork by about 40,000 tons and cut its poultry import quota by about 300,000 tons, while upping the related tariffs.

Source: Meatingplace.com