MOSCOW: The Russian Federation has decided to remove a temporary ban imposed last month on the import of vegetables and fruit from Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia.
However, Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture stated they are tightening control on imports, and Russia’s Rosselkhoznadzor (Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance) will be in charge of this.
Russia prohibited the import of certain products from occupied Abkhazia due to the “critical phytosanitary situation” in the form of the agricultural pest the Asian Stink Bug (Brown Marmorated Bug) which destroyed nearly the whole hazelnut harvest in Georgia and occupied Abkhazia last year.
The Russian side made the decision in order to prevent the spread of the pest onto Russian territory from occupied Abkhazia.
Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture stated the decision to remove the ban on breakaway Abkhazian products was made on April 5, adding it would take effect from April 10.
The Director of the Department of Plant Production, Mechanization, Chemicalization and Plant Protection of Russia, Petr Chekmarev, spoke about the measures taken by the de facto Abkhaz side to improve the phytosanitary situation, and the results of monitoring during the visit of Russian specialists.
“The authorities of Abkhazia mobilized troops, organized manual collection of the pest, chemical treatment and conducted a mass effort with the population to eliminate the pest. Around 10.5 million bugs were collected by the locals, which prevented its spread to the fields, orchards and vineyards,” Chekmarev said.
The Russian Ministry added that specialists of the Rosselkhoznadzor and experts held informative meetings with local specialists and the general population of Georgia’s Russian-backed occupied region, gave recommendations and introduced information about how to effectively combat the Brown Marmorated Bugs.