Azerbaijan and E.coli-nomics
With Europe suffering from severe indigestion, Russia has moved to ban imports of Euro-veggies. The embargo may be bad news for European exporters, but it could open new avenues for the Azerbaijani cucumber. It's hard to get between Russians and their love for cucumbers (especially pickled ones). Russia’s food safety tsar Gennadiy Onishchenko advised consumers earlier this week that if they find themselves overcome by an uncontrollable urge to eat European cucumbers, they should simply switch to pasta. He cautioned, though, against pasta abuse since it could make Russia a few kilos heavier. “If you find European vegetables on sale in stores, you should walk away indignantly and go buy our vegetables,” declared Onishchenko, whom Tamada Tales readers may remember for his crusades against Georgian wine and mineral water.
But “our vegetables” could include vegetables from the South Caucasus; Azerbaijan, chiefly. Thanks to the embargo on Europe’s killer cucumbers, Azerbaijan may increase its fruit and vegetable exports to Russia by 20-25 percent, said Sabir Aliyev, a senior official in Azerbaijan's Ministry of Agriculture. Azerbaijan’s current annual vegetable exports to Russia are worth 200 million manats ($156 million), he said.
Neighboring Armenia, a good Moscow chum, is not that big on cucumber exports, but agriculture officials there say they may also use the opportunity while Europe and Russia are waging salad wars.