Russia Bans Brazilian Leaf Over Pest Concerns

    Photo: Tobacco Reporter archive

    Russia has banned tobacco imports from Brazil and four other countries as of Monday, July 19, reports Datamar News, citing authorities’ concerns about infestation.

    The announcement was made on July 15 by the Russian federal service for veterinary and phytosanitary surveillance, which cited concerns about the phytosanitary status of tobacco from various countries destined for the Russian Federation and the systematic violation of the phytosanitary requirements of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

    To date this year, Russian inspectors have detected the Megaselia scalaris fly in 28 tobacco shipments, according to a statement published on the website of the Russian Trade Representative in Brazil. Megaselia scalaris is considered a quarantine pest throughout the EAEU.

    Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture said it had not been officially informed about the decision. According to data from the ministry, Brazil exported almost 20,000 tons of leaf tobacco and related products valued at $43.7 million to Russia in 2020.

    The ban comes at a bad time for Brazil’s leaf merchants, many of whom are in the shipping stage of the tobacco season and have been forced to postpone shipments to a major market.