Bagged Potatoes on pallets (Courtesy Itar-Tass)
Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) has issued a temporary import ban on potatoes from neighboring Ukraine. The authorities have cited repeated instances of golden cyst nematode Globodera rostochiensis as the cause behind the restrictions.

However, one source from Ukraine’s fruit and vegetable industry believes politics may have played a role in the introduction of the ban, given the two nations’ ongoing conflict.

Produce exporter West Retail co-founder Fedir Rybalko told other countries which may well have had similar cases of nematode have not received any special treatment too.

“That [the pest] is the official reason, but it could definitely be political. I think Russia could find golden nematode in almost every country it imports from,” Rybalko said.

“But that doesn’t mean it’s the same story for Poland, the Netherlands, Egypt, Pakistan and Georgia. I cannot believe they don’t have nematode in their own production.”