On 29 May 2018, a press conference took place in the Russian Federation, dedicated to the 5-year anniversary of the National Organic Union. Participants discussed the latest developments of organic products in Russia and expressed their expectations of the draft Federal Law on “Organic Products, Production and Marketing”. However, some problematic issues were raised as well. The Organic Union on 23 and 24 June will hold another conference on organic agriculture in Suzdal.
In just ten years (2005-2015), the area of organic agricultural land in Russia has increased from 6,900 to 385,140 hectares, which amounts to 0.2% of the total agricultural land in the country. But not all certified organic land is under cultivation, which is partly due to the fact that certification takes about three years and farmers do not start using the land until they can produce and sell certified organic products.
Most organic farms in Russia are small and medium of size (50-1,500 hectares), while the biggest share of the organic production is done by large holding companies such as Agrivolga, Arivera and Savinskaya Niva. More than 60 Russian organic producers have international organic certificates from the European Union and of the National Organic Program of the US.
According to the Association of Exporters of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (UYMSIB), the export of fresh fruits and vegetables from Turkey grew by 25% between January and April this year, compared to the same period in 2017, and reached a value of $794 million (compared to $635 million a year earlier). According to an article published by Anadolu Agency, solving the problems with Russia played an important role in this rise of Turkish fruit and vegetable exports.
Other factors contributing to growth were the greater trust in Turkish products in European markets, as well as access to new markets.
During this period, a total of 1,557 million MT of fruits and vegetables were exported, which is 17% more than the previous figures, the association said.
During the same period, exports to Russia grew by 125%, from $90 million to $202 million, and the volume increased by 91%, reaching about 315,000 MT.
According to UYMSIB, Russian exports accounted for 70% of Turkey’s export volume, with a value of $112 million out of $159 million.
From 6 June 2018, Egypt is again allowed to supply potatoes to Russia from eight regions. A ban had been introduced due to cases of brown rot, as reported by the official Egyptian news agency MENA, citing the words of the Minister of Industry and Trade of Egypt, Tarek Kabila.
“The Russian authorities have agreed to lift the ban on the import of Egyptian potatoes from eight regions; imports from these areas are allowed again from 6 June,” T. Kabil said.
He explained that such a decision became possible following the negotiations of the Russian-Egyptian intergovernmental commission, which met in Moscow in late May. There were also a series of visits, and moreover, Egypt sent Russia the results of checks on Egyptian agricultural products, which confirmed their compliance with international standards.
Retail sales in Russia picked up in April, while real wages growth exceeded expectations as the unemployment rate fell, suggesting an economic recovery was under way.
The monthly set of data released by the Federal Statistics Service, or Rosstat, indicated that sanctions that the United States imposed on Moscow in early April had little immediate impact on Russia’s fundamentals.
After two years of recession caused by a slump in oil prices and Western sanctions, the Russian economy is now recovering along with oil, the rouble has generally stabilized and global commodity prices remain favorable for an economy dependent on exports of energy and raw materials.
Retail sales, the key gauge for consumer demand, the primary driver of economic growth, were up 2.4 percent year-on-year in April after a 2.0 percent rise in the year to March. (more…)
Russia imported 94 percent of its French fries in 2017 but has bought the necessary equipment to produce it locally, Russia’s National Horticultural Union head Sergey Korolev said. The new equipment allows production of 110,000 MT a year, while the market is 106,000 MT. That is why Russia’s National Horticultural Union sent a request to the Russian government to ban imported French fries.
“The introduction of restrictions on the supply of imported frozen French fries, according to the Union, will not only support domestic agricultural producers engaged in the production of raw potatoes, but will also contribute to the preservation of jobs at newly established processing enterprises, and will increase the safety and quality of the product,” Korolev said.
The first plant to produce French fries opened in April. Domestic production is expected to replace imported French fries and fully satisfy the country’s needs. Russia has been deciding how to respond to the new US sanctions imposed in April.
French fries at McDonald’s restaurants across Russia will be made with Russian-grown potatoes from now on, because of U.S. sanctions that have hit the Russian ruble and led to trade restrictions.
McDonald’s restaurants in Russia have already been using Russian ingredients for most other menu items, but until now they had relied on frozen French fries from the Netherlands and Poland because Russian potatoes weren’t quite right.
Now McDonald’s is making the switch to home-grown potatoes to deal with ruble’s volatility caused by fluctuating oil prices and western sanctions. A plant south of Moscow using potatoes grown on local farms will supply frozen fries to 651 McDonald’s restaurant across Russia.
The factory has capacity to process more than 200,000 tons of potatoes per year, washing, cutting and freezing the vegetables.
The ruble has recovered some ground as the price of oil, a major source of revenue for Russia, has risen from a low in 2016. But western trade restrictions remain in place.
Russia’s response to western sanctions included a 2014 ban on a range of western food imports.
According to reports of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the gross harvest of greenhouse vegetables as of April 28 was 235,200 MT, that is 39.5% more than in 2017 (168,500 MT) .
179,300 MT of cucumbers (27,7% more than in 2017), 51,800 MT of tomatoes (2 times more), and 4,100 MT of other vegetables (17,1% more) were produced.
The leaders in the production of greenhouse vegetables were Krasnodar region (22,800 MT), the Moscow region (17,700 MT), the Republic of Tatarstan (16,600 MT), Stavropol region (16,500 MT), and Lipetsk region (16,000 MT).
Russia has lifted sanctions on Turkish tomato exporters, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on April 27, citing Turkey’s Economy Ministry. Russia’s decision will completely pave the way for Turkey’s tomato export to Russia, the ministry said in a statement.
The move came after a meeting held between officials from the Turkish Economy Ministry and Russian Agricultural Ministry on April 26, the statement said.
It recalled that a limited number of Turkish tomato exporters were allowed by the Russian Agricultural Ministry to sell products to Russia. That nation had also imposed a 50,000-ton quota on imported tomatoes from Turkey in October 2017.
In January 2016, after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet violating its airspace, Russia banned imports of Turkish fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, oranges, apples, apricots, cabbage, broccoli, mandarins, pears, peaches, cucumbers, plums, strawberries, onions, cloves, and poultry.
Turkey has exported 74,119 MTof mandarin to Russia in the first quarter of 2018 and generated a revenue of $42.3 million USD in return.
East Black Sea Region Exporters Association President Ahmet Hamdi Gurdogan: “In order to develop the trade relations between two countries, it is imperative to lift the restrictions and form strategic partnerships. This is the only way two countries can full fill its potential in trade relations.”
According to the released figures, the exports of mandarin increased 31 % in volume and 36% in value compared to the first quarter of 2017. Mandarin is followed by lemon with 50,375 MT, oranges with 32,325 MT and apples with 22,625 MT.
From the East Black Sea Region in the same period, 51,196 MT of fruits and vegetables are exported to Russia generating a revenue of $30.8 million. 21,401 MT of these exports were mandarins which accounted for $12.2 million in trade.
President Ahmet Hamdi Gurdogan: ”The numbers display a 91% increase in exports of fruits and vegetables to Russia compared to last year’s first quarter. The rise in revenue is actually even higher at 112%. Turkey exports fruits and vegetables to Russia mostly and it has become the primary for Turkish fruits and vegetables. It is a huge market and we are trying to improve our share in this market even more. That’s why we select our best products for exports and Russian consumers started to prefer specifically Turkish products.
Most of the restrictions imposed by Russia which were put in place in 2016 due to political crisis between two countries, have already been lifted. However there are still some remaining restrictions regarding tomato exports where only certain firms are granted permission to export tomatoes. This creates unfair competitive environment for our growers and we would like this restriction to be removed as well. This way more Turkish growers will be able to export their tomatoes to Russia and Russian consumers will be able to access the products at a better price.
Russia’s self-sufficiency in greenhouse vegetable production exceeded 53% last year, but it will be necessary to build another 1.5 thousand hectares of greenhouses in order to completely cover Russia’s domestic needs.
In 2017, agricultural producers received 118 billion rubles in preferential loans. This is 25% of the total volume of concessional loans. Such support will make it possible to build 50 greenhouse complexes with a total area of 650 hectares, which will increase the annual vegetable production by 500 thousand MT.
The Minister of Agriculture pointed out that the state support for vegetable growers also includes compensating investors for 20% of the costs incurred.
“Over the past 3 years, we have given support to 56 investment projects with a total of more than 400 hectares of greenhouses. All this should facilitate the task of replacing imported greenhouse vegetables with Russian product within the next 3-4 years,” said A. Tkachev.
Every year, the greenhouse complex in the Moscow region which the minister visited grows 27 thousand MT of tomatoes, 15 thousand MT of cucumbers and 1 thousand MT of sweet peppers. The cutting-edge technologies used in the complex allow it to compete successfully with imports, supplying fresh and quality products to Russian stores.