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Agriculture

UPDATE 1-Russia may not import poultry meat from 2011-Ifax

* Move would come faster than official forecast

* Russia was largest export market for U.S. chicken

MOSCOW, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Russia, which until recently was the largest export market for U.S. chicken, may not need to import poultry meat in 2011 and beyond, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

“I think that next year and in the following years we basically can do without the imports,” the Interfax agency quoted Putin as saying.

“More so, because quite often our sanitary authorities have doubts about the production, transportation and storage of the products.”

In September, Russia's top meat producer Cherkizovo GCHE.MM said the country could become self-sufficient in poultry meat and pork before 2013, the target set by the Agriculture Ministry. [ID:nLDE68D0DE]

Russia was the largest importer of U.S. chicken before it put a ban in place in January. Russian officials were concerned about a chlorine rinse used in U.S. processing plants to kill pathogens that can cause food poisoning.

Last month Moscow allowed all but one of the 26 U.S. poultry slaughter and processing plants to again ship poultry to Russia. [ID:nN08108416]

The United States shipped 733,000 tonnes of poultry meat to Russia worth $752 million in 2009. The U.S. quota for 2010 was set at 600,000 tonnes, but Russia has allowed other suppliers to use a quarter of it. [ID:nLDE65305T]

Putin said on Tuesday that this year imports from the U.S. had fallen to 300,000 tonnes of poultry.

He added that Russia’s production of poultry meat had risen by more than 70 percent in recent years, while pork output was up by 39 percent. (Writing by Lidia Kelly; editing by James Jukwey)

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