Bans leave farmers flat

IT was probably only a matter of time before Russia moved to introduce its own trade bans on Australia and other western nations that imposed sanctions in response to its policy on Ukraine and then the shooting down last month of MH17.

Russia’s 12-month trade ban on agricultural goods from Australia, announced on Thursday, has met with a warning from Prime Minister Tony Abbott that if it doesn’t stop “bullying” Ukraine, increased sanctions will follow.

For local farmers, including Mike Gadd of Walwa, the trade ban is a disappointing outcome at a time when angus breeders had been developing a live export market to Russia.

There had been expectations that more than 30,000 angus heifers and the same number or more of angus steers could be exported in the next few months.

Australia’s agricultural trade with Russia is valued at $400 million annually, not an inconsiderable amount, in spite of our focus on Asian markets.

There are valid reasons for Australia and its allies to take economic action against Russia, but there will be hopes within our farming sector that a resolution might be found to enable trade to recommence.