A DEAL to lift a 26-year ban on exporting British beef and lamb to Russia is a major boost for Fenland farmers, says a firm of specialist agricultural accountants.

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The Government recently announced that Russia had agreed to lift the ban, which was initially put in place by the Soviet Union in 1986 following the first BSE outbreak in the UK. The worldwide ban was lifted in 2006, but was kept in place by Russia.

It is understood that the lifting of the ban could be worth a potential £80million over the next three years.

Andrew Heskin, a partner of Fenland accountancy firm Moore Thompson’s farming sector team, said: “This deal is a major boost to the local farming economy at a time of rising feed and energy prices.

“The Russian beef and lamb market has the potential to be highly profitable to our producers and follows in the wake of a £50million agreement to export British pork to China which the Government agreed in May.

“Our farmers have a major part to play in growing our economy and this deal will give them a firm footing to increase production and exports.”

Russia kept the ban amid fears over the threat of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), however the controls are now so tight that the disease has virtually disappeared in the UK.

Moore Thompson provides specialist accountancy advice to agricultural and horticultural businesses, including many beef and lamb producers in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.

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