Azerbaijan Plans to Export 88,232 mt of Apples to Russia in 2021

The volume of apples to be exported from Azerbaijan to Russia in 2021 will amount to 88,000 mt, according to forecasts of the Azerbaijan Food Safety Agency, the agency has reported.

Thirty-seven local enterprises will be allowed to export apples to Russia as a result of the negotiations held between the Azerbaijan Food Safety Agency and Russia’s agriculture watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor.

The last round of negotiations was held between the delegation from Azerbaijan Food Safety Agency and Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision in a videoconference format on February 16.

67 Azerbaijani enterprises exported 66,924 mt of apple products to Russia in 2020.

It should be noted that Azerbaijan is a major supplier of fruits and vegetables to Russia.

Rosselkhoznadzor banned the import of Azerbaijani tomatoes and apples on December 10, citing the necessity to “prevent the import and spread” of pesticides to Russia. So far, Russia has lifted the ban on imports of 51 tomato producers and 37 apple producers operating in Azerbaijan.

Potatoes and Vegetables in Russia are Significantly More Expensive

For the first 5 weeks of 2021 in Russia, the average price for potatoes increased by 40% in annual terms: 30.9 rubles/kg ($0.42/kg) versus 22.2 rubles/kg ($0.30/kg) one year earlier. This was reported by with reference to RBC and weekly data by Rosstat.

Carrots have also risen in price during this period by 34% to 37 rubles ($0.50), tomatoes by 20% up to 173.6 rubles ($2.35), cucumbers by 16% up to 175.4 rubles ($2.37), and onions by 10% up to 27.8 rubles ($0.38).

Tatyana Gubina, the head of staff at the Potato Union of Russia, noted that due to the record harvest in 2019, the wholesale price in January 2020 was 10 rubles per kilogram and potatoes were sold at cost. In the current year, the price has increased due to the excess demand versus supply.

The Ministry of Agriculture said that the potato harvest fell by 11.3% in 2020 compared to 2019 and the share of small potatoes also increased. Due to the competition from retailers for large potatoes, the price has increased. The Ministry also said that prices for the products should begin to decline in June when the new harvest arrives on the market.

Rosselkhoznadzor lifts ban on tomato imports from more companies in Azerbaijan

Starting today, February 5, 2021, Rosselkhoznadzor will lift restrictions on the supply of tomatoes to Russia from 12 more companies from the Republic of Azerbaijan.

“In order to remove the current restrictions on the supply of plant products, Rosselkhoznadzor together with the Food Safety Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan conducted video inspections of Azerbaijani enterprises for the absence of contamination by the tomato moth (Tuta absoluta Povolny),” reported the Rosselkhoznadzor press service.

In connection with the negative results of the quarantine phytosanitary examination of the samples that were selected as a result of video inspections conducted from January 14 to 29, Rosselkhoznadzor, under the guarantees of the Food Safety Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, allowed the following companies to export tomatoes:

  • AMORIS LLC (Lenkoran region, village Kharkhatan);
  • ALZA HOLDİNQ-1 LLC (Baku city, Nasimi region);
  • BVB Peasant Farm LLC (Sabirabad region, Kurkendi village);
  • H AND M AGRO LLC (Baku city, Yasamal region);
  • Aqroinnova LLC (Baku city, Nasimi district);
  • ARGO LLC (Baku city, Yasamal district);
  • AGRO-LAND-AZ LLC (Khazar district, Mardakan settlement);
  • A-ALYANS LLC (Baku city, Narimanov district);
  • Guliyev Bashir Shain (Baku city, Nasimi district);
  • PARADISE AGRO LLC (Absheron district, Hovsan settlement);
  • T TOMATOES LLC (Khazar district, Zira settlement);
  • Kurdamir Agro LLC (Kurdamir district, the city of Kurdamir).

The ban on the supply of tomatoes and apples to Russia from the Republic of Azerbaijan came into effect on December 10, 2020, after repeated detection of the South American tomato moth (Tuta absoluta) and the eastern moth (Grapholita molesta) in consignments of products supplied to Russia.

Back on December 17, 2020, Rosselkhoznadzor allowed the supply of tomatoes from 4 enterprises in Azerbaijan. A few days later, 3 more companies received permission to export apples to Russia on December 21, 2020.  At the start of the new year, 15 companies in Azerbaijan were added to the list of possible tomato suppliers on January 1, 2021, and on January 25, 2021, restrictions on the supply of tomatoes and apples were lifted from 13 more companies of the Republic.

Horticulture of Ukraine 2020: Fruit and Vegetable Degradation or Temporary Difficulties?

The EastFruit team sums up the results for the Ukrainian horticulture business in 2020, which can hardly be considered successful or favorable. Fruit and vegetable imports to Ukraine this year increased by 25% while exports decreased according to preliminary estimates.

The decrease in proceeds from walnut exports due to the decline in world prices for these products became especially noticeable. Revenue from the exports of fresh apples and blueberries also dropped sharply and were not offset by revenue growth from the exports of frozen berries even though their prices on the world market have strengthened significantly.

Imports, on the other hand, increased in almost every product category with the exception of onions. Imports of greenhouse tomatoes, greenhouse cucumbers, and potatoes grew the most. Also, the costs of importing table grapes, lemons, avocados, grapefruits, and persimmons to Ukraine increased by more than 30-40%.

In addition to the deterioration of the horticulture trade balance, one of the main challenges for the fruit and vegetable industry in Ukraine was a sharp change in the distribution channels of products. The sharp decline in sales in HoReCa due to the coronavirus pandemic and the strengthening role of supermarkets forced market participants to reconsider approaches not only to marketing but also to production.

Marketing was also felt the impact due to the lack of exhibitions, conferences, and sharp restrictions on travel opportunities reduced the effectiveness of such efforts.

The most relevant topic that determined the conjuncture of the Ukrainian and world markets is, of course, COVID-19. The coronavirus pandemic, which was initially underestimated by many, quickly became the world’s #1 problem. Ukraine turned out to be practically unprepared for it and the measures taken by the government were sometimes simply shocking and seemingly illogical and inconsistent to market participants. (more…)

Temporary Price Increases for Fruits in Russia Predicted for Winter and Spring 2021

According to preliminary estimates from the Horticulture Union of the Russian Federation, the apple harvest in the commodity sector amounted to 708,000 mt in 2020, which is 30% lower than a year earlier due to late frosts in a number of major producing regions. However, experts have not yet noted an increase in fruit imports in relation to the decline in the harvest.

The company Technology Growth believes that fruit and berry imports in 2020 remained at the level of 2019. Russia imported about 1.7 million mt of traditional fruits – apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and grapes. “This result was achieved due to the high harvest in 2019 and in the first half of 2020 there were very few imports. Before the New Year, our enterprises were selling products harvested last autumn,” explains the general director of the company Tamara Reshetnikova. “However, in 2021, due to a low harvest, the import of fruits will increase since its supply will be limited. Prices for all fruits will increase in winter and spring,” the company experts predict.

However, the growth in import volumes and prices will be temporary believes the Horticulture Union believes. If there are no weather disasters, the fruit harvest in 2021 will exceed the record figure of 2019. “The fact is that 2018 and 2019 became record-breaking years for the establishment of perennial orchards and this year they will begin to bear fruit. Accordingly, in the new year one can expect not only a record collection but also a decrease in prices on the shelf and a decrease in imports,” Mikhail Glushkov, director of the Horticulture Union told Agroinvestor.

The Russian Farmers Association is also optimistic. Its president Igor Mukhanin recalls that in 2019, there were 16,000 hectares of orchards planted despite the original plan of 10,500 hectares and in 2020, another 14,000 hectares were added. “Apple production annually increases by 150,000-200,000 mt and the productivity of orchards is growing. If such rates continue, then in five to six years, our country will completely replace its demand for marketable apples, which is 2 million mt against 1 million mt being produced now,” he said.

Mr. Mukhanin adds that in a few years when Russian farmers saturate the market with apples of their own production, they will be able to export them. “We have high export potential. We grow apples with minimal use of herbicides and pesticides – three times less than in Poland and five times less than in Italy. Due to the fact that Russia has cold winters and a temperate climate, we do not have such an acute problem with pests, there is no need to cultivate orchards all year round,” Igor Mukhanin emphasizes. He is sure that horticulture is the industry that could help in the development of rural areas.

Georgia Increases Fruit and Vegetable Exports to Russia Prior to New Year’s Eve

The period right before New Year’s is usually characterized by an increase in traffic on transit roads, which causes slowdowns and traffic jams. This is due to exporters trying to get their products on the markets before the New Year. According to exporters, this year, the road situation is no different from previous years and there are no significant disruptions or issues associated with the pandemic except in the search for drivers.

Prior to New Year’s Eve, fruits and vegetables – mainly mandarins, persimmons, apples, and herbs – are exported from Georgia. Russia is one of the main export countries for Georgia. According to information from export companies, by now, their products are already on their way to markets and there are no more new cargoes planned for December. Since sales are active during the period prior to New Year’s, trade is reduced after the New Year.

According to Vakhtang Bezhitashvili, the founder of Fruitilia in Georgia, the traffic on transit roads in the direction of Russia is increasing prior to New Year’s. “I cannot say that there are any special delays on the roads. High traffic and corresponding queues on the roads are common during this time. Our company carries out both the export and import of agricultural products. The resulting queues on the roads are a problem only for perishable goods in refrigerated trucks. A long delay of such a product on the road means a decrease in its quality. For example, if during the normal period a trailer reaches Russia in three days, it may take a week leading up to New Year’s. A solution to this problem is possible if the transportation of perishable goods is given priority on the roads. This implies allowing refrigerated trucks to enter the first rows so that they do not have to stand in line with trucks loaded with non-perishable goods. This is the accepted practice in the world. In Georgia, this practice is used only at customs, which, of course, is not enough. It often takes several days to get to customs.”

According to official data for the period from January to November 2020, the largest amount of mandarins and apples were exported from Georgia to Russia. Russia accounts for 92% of the total export value of apples and 80% for mandarins. In January-November 2020, apples worth $3.03 million and mandarins worth $3.66 million were exported from Georgia to Russia. However, the season is not over yet and, in January, both mandarin and apple exports will continue.

Geography Narrowed and Export Volumes Decreased for Moldovan Grapes in 2020

According to data from the National Agency for Food Safety (ANSA), as of mid-December this year, slightly more than 48,000 mt of table grapes were exported from Moldova to 22 countries. Due to the reduction in prices for the main export grape variety Moldova, this indicator will not change significantly by the end of 2020. In 2019, local exporters sent almost 79,000 mt of grapes to 29 countries.

Comparing this year to last year’s figures, the export volumes of Moldovan grapes have decreased in virtually all countries. There was a significant reduction in supplies to Belarus (from 5,400 mt to 1,790 mt ), Iraq (from 2,110 mt to 286 mt ), Romania (from 18,650 mt to 10,720 mt ), and Ukraine (from 7,900 mt to 4,200 mt ). The volume of exports increased only to Poland from 1,580 mt to 1,700 mt.

Members of the Moldovan Table Grape Producers Association note there are still a lot of products in the refrigerated warehouses of vineyards in the thousands of tons. These are mostly the highest quality grapes that they intended to sell in December at a high price. However, from the middle of this month, the price of even high-quality grapes has not significantly increased. Taking this into account, the association’s experts forecast for price dynamics in the first half of January 2021 is not optimistic.

Russia Allows the Export of Products from Several Azerbaijani Enterprises

The Azerbaijani Food Safety Agency and a number of relevant structures are taking the necessary measures to remove restrictions on the export of certain products to Russia. The export of apples and tomatoes from Azerbaijan to Russia was widely discussed during several meetings.

As a result of discussions between the delegations of the Food Safety Agency and the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision of the Russian Federation., the export of tomatoes from Agroterm LLC (Khizi district), Geothermal Agro LLC (Kurdemir district), Gp Alfa greenhouse LLC (Salyan district), Hajigabul greenhouse LLC (Hajigabul district), and the enterprises belonging to Ilkin Shukurov (Masalli district) was allowed.

The export of apples from “TURAZ” LLC (Shabran district), Ran Fruit LLC, and an enterprise belonging to Vahid Asadov was also allowed. The relevant structure issued the export permits on the basis of the files submitted by the Agency on strengthening phytosanitary control, as well as on the results of relevant monitoring.

The EU Extends Sanctions on Russia for 6 More Months

On Thursday, December 10, the European Union’s heads of State and Government renewed the economic sanctions against Russia for its role in the crisis in eastern Ukraine until June 30, 2021.

The EU first introduced the sanctions on July 31, 2014. The sanctions are focused on the finance, energy, and defense sectors, as well as on dual-use, civil, and military products. They also restrict Russia’s access to certain sensitive technologies and services that can be used for oil exploration and production.

The sanctions also limit access to the primary and secondary capital markets of the EU for five major Russian financial entities – Sberbank, VTB Bank, Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank, and Rosseljozbank – which have majority participation of the State, and its subsidiaries that also have a majority State participation and that are established outside the EU.

Russia Bans the Supply of Selected Fruits and Vegetables from Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey

The list of new bans announced by Rosselkhoznadzor citing quarantine issues with supplies of vegetables and fruits to Russia as they unfolded this week.

– Ban on the supply of greenhouse tomatoes and peppers to Russia from the Fergana region of Uzbekistan due to the detection of the tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV);

– Ban on the supply of dried apricots and all plant products to Russia from the Fergana region of Uzbekistan after the discovery of a quarantine object – the khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium Ev.) – in a batch of dried apricots for Russia and the EAEU member states;

– Ban on the supply of greenhouse tomatoes and peppers from the Kashkadarya region of Uzbekistan due to the discovery of the tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) and for the same reason from the Navoi region of Uzbekistan;

– Ban on the supply of greenhouse tomatoes and peppers to Russia from the Armavir region of Armenia due to the detection of the Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV) in a batch of products;

– Ban on the supply of apples and greenhouse tomatoes from Azerbaijan to Russia due to multiple violations of quarantine laws. This, according to EastFruit, will also affect a significant part of the supply of these products from Iran since a significant amount of Iran’s products enters Russia in transit through Azerbaijan;

– Ban on the supply of greenhouse tomatoes and peppers from the Izmir and Antalya provinces in Turkey due to the systematic identification of quarantine objects such as South American tomato moth (Tuta absoluta (Meyrick)), Western California (flower) thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis (Perg)), Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV), tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV), and tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV).

– Ban, more than a month ago, on the imports of tomatoes and peppers from Grodno, Gomel, Minsk, and Brest regions of Belarus due to the detection of the Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV).