August 8, 2014 8:40 am

Alberta hog producers worried about Russia ban

Watch above: Canadian pork producers are bracing for the impact of a one-year ban on food imports from this country to Russia. The announcement comes as Canada and other nations have imposed sanctions on Russia to protest its annexation of Crimea. Shallima Maharaj reports.

RED DEER, Alta. – The organization that represents Alberta hog producers is disappointed that Russia is closing its borders to Canadian food products.

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Alberta Pork says the move could set the pork industry back from what has been a comeback year after a long period of hard times.

“Any time we have a trade sanction or a trade dispute, if you will – and we recognize this one here is a little more than a trade dispute that you might normally see – but any time we have that, it becomes a little bit of a logistical nightmare,” said Alberta Pork Executive Director Darcy Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald says Alberta producers export $400 million worth of pork products per year around the world.

“Our understanding is we have something in the neighbourhood of about 500 containers on their way to Russia, so our industry will have to find a location for that to go to.The long-term effect becomes, ‘What do you do with what is potentially, this year, about half a billion dollars worth of pork products?'”

READ MORE: Sask. pork producers nervous about Russia’s food ban

The one year ban on Canadian food products is in retaliation to sanctions Ottawa has imposed on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

While Ontario and Quebec are the largest producers of pork in Canada, there are roughly 380 registered pork producers in Alberta.

Dan Majeau, one of the owners of Majeau Enterprises in Alberta, believes the ban will have the biggest impact on the people of Russia, because of the decreased supply coming in. However, he says the ban will have a ripple effect, substantially impacting Canada’s, and Alberta’s, pork industry.

“After four or five lean years, this year was shaping up to be a better year, so there was some optimism that producers would have a better year. But of course there’s always things at play and these are well beyond our control,” said Majeau.

READ MORE: Ontario pork farmer on Russia sanctions: ‘You’re going to lose something’

In 2012, Canadian producers exported about $550 million worth of pork products to Russia.

With files from Global News.

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