Russia’s Self-Sufficiency in Greenhouse Veg Production Exceeded 53% Last Year

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.

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Russia Expects Fruit Production to Grow by Nearly 14% in 2018

In 2018, Russia expects to harvest about 14 percent more soft fruits and fruit from trees than in the previous year, according to the forecasts published by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, reports Fruit-inform.

Russia believes that this growth is possible thanks to the orchards planted three to five years ago; however, according to experts, it will not be easy to obtain greater volumes, as some of the fruit plantations that have existed for 25-30 years are gradually starting to yield less fruit.

This year, growers expect to harvest 3.3 million tonnes of fruit and berries in Russia, which is 13.8% more than a year ago; however, it should be noted that this still depends on the weather conditions. Last year, the production volume could have been higher, but it was prevented by frost during the flowering stage.

Russia’s self-sufficiency in fruit production in 2017 was only 36%, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, and this despite the fact that the state has already compensated agricultural producers for a part of the funds for the creation of new orchards from 2010.

Thanks to state support measures, an average of 10.5 thousand hectares of orchards devoted to berry cultivation have been planted in Russia each year. In 2017, this figure stood at 15.2 thousand hectares. This year, there are plans to set up approximately 11.3 thousand hectares more.

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Russia Became World’s Second Largest Banana Importer Last Year

In 2017, fresh fruit and vegetable imports into Russia grew by 17% compared to the previous year and amounted to 7.1 million MT. Of this volume, 22% corresponded to bananas, 20% to citrus fruits, 10% to apples and 7% to tomatoes. Last year, Russia became the world’s second-largest banana importer (1.5 million MT), losing first place to the US and overtaking Germany. Also, there was a significant increase in the supply of mandarins, watermelons, celery and avocados.

The agency’s experts associate the growth of imports with the lifting of restrictions on the import of Turkish products, a record import of Ecuadorian bananas, and the establishment of relations with China, Egypt, Azerbaijan and Moldova.

The largest supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables last year was Ecuador, which accounted for 21% of the total volume of Russian imports in this category. Almost all imports from this country consisted of bananas, which, according to the FCS, stood at 1.4 million MT; 11% more than a year earlier. The second largest supplier was Turkey, which accounts for 14% of all Russian fresh fruit and vegetable imports. In fact, Russia absorbs one third of Turkey’s total fruit and vegetable exports. According to the Federal Customs Service, Turkey’s most important export product in 2017 was citrus fruits, with almost 600 thousand MT shipped, mainly in the fourth quarter of 2017. The Russian market also purchased Turkish grapes, peaches, nectarines and apricots.

In third place was China, whose share is 10%. The most important Chinese products were tomatoes, with sales volumes increasing by 26%, to 109 thousand MT, as well as apples (with a 13% drop, down to 100 thousand tonnes). China also supplied onions, mandarins, cabbage, grapefruit, bell peppers, carrots and pears. As noted earlier by the press service of the FCS, the physical volume vegetable imports from China increased by an average of 1.4 times.

Imports from Belarus, which ranked fourth, dropped to 540 thousand MT, compared to 630 thousand MT in 2016 and 1.1 million MT in 2015. The main Belorussian products exported were peaches and nectarines (88,000 MT), tomatoes (70,000 MT), pears (77,000 MT), potatoes (51,000 MT) and apples (47,000 MT).

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EU Prolongs Sanctions against Russia until 15 September 2018

On 12 March 2018, the Council prolonged the restrictive measures over actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine for a further six months, until 15 September 2018. The measures consist of asset freezes and travel restrictions. They continue to apply to 150 persons and 38 entities.

An assessment of the situation did not justify a change in the sanctions regime. The relevant information and statement of reasons for the listing of these persons and entities were updated as necessary.

The legal acts will available in the EU Official Journal of 13 March 2018.

Other EU measures in place in response to the Ukraine crisis include:

  • economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy, currently in place until 31 July 2018;
  • restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, currently in place until 23 June 2018.

www.consilium.europa.eu

Putin: Import Substitution in Russia is Temporary Phenomenon

The import substitution in Russia is a temporary phenomenon, a temporary tool for adjusting the current situation, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

“The idea of import substitution itself is not universal and is not what we should strive for in the long run, because import substitution should not undermine competition. This is an extremely important thing,” Putin said at a meeting with women entrepreneurs.

“We should understand, that all this import substitution is a temporary phenomenon. I want you to understand this. This is a temporary tool to adjust to the current situation,” he stressed.

“We should aim at producing such products of such quality and at such a price that it is competitive not on our own, but on the world market,” Putin added.

According to him, import substitution is primarily related to ensuring the security of the country, for example, in the defense industry. As an example Putin mentioned the fact that Russia has begun to produce marine engines, engines for helicopters, and this is being done compulsorily.

“In some cases we did it and are doing it to support the domestic producer in difficult economic conditions, especially in the situation when our partners violate and distort competition by imposing different sanctions, which are politically motivated, as they claim, but in fact are based on the ambition to gain an advantage,” he added.

www.tass.com

Azerbaijan: the Main Tomato Supplier to Russia in 2017

Russian media, the citing Federal Customs Committee, reported that Azerbaijan was the leading tomato exporter to Russia in 2017.

Azerbaijan increased its export volume by 50 percent to 151,000 MT (worth some $151 million dollars). Azerbaijan’s share in the Russian tomato import increased from 22 percent in 2016 to 30 percent in 2017.

According to en.trend.az, Russia accounted for 99.8 percent of Azerbaijan’s total tomato export in 2017. China held the second place with 109,000 MT (a 26 percent year-on-year increase). Morocco went down to the third place (from the first place it held in 2016). The country’s share correspondingly decreased to 23 percent with 97,000 MT. Belarus with 70,000 MT and Iran with 9,000 MT also entered the Top 5.

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Russian fruit and vegetable imports partially recovered

When compared to the previous year, Russian imports of fresh fruit and vegetables have increased considerably over the last year. A total of 7,1 million MT was imported, 17% more than in 2016. It is, however, not nearly as much as in 2013. In the year before the boycott came into force, Russia imported almost 8,5 million MT of fresh fruit and vegetables.

The (partial) recovery of the imports is, firstly, due to the boycott of various Turkish products being lifted in 2017. In addition, a record volume of (Ecuadorian) bananas and products from other countries were imported. The most important of these countries are China, Egypt, Azerbaijan, and Moldova. The record volume of banana imports is particularly noticeable. Last year, Russia surpassed Germany and is now the second largest importer of bananas in the world, besides the United States. Russia also imported a record volume of mandarins, it’s second most popular import product. Russia is by far this product’s most important import country. Russia’s import volumes of all other regularly consumed products also rose in 2017. This country’s import volumes of lesser-known products, such as kaki, garlic, watermelon, celery, avocado, and mangoes, also reached record highs in the past year. (more…)

Food Imports Increased in 2017 Pushed by Fruit and Veg Purchases

The import of food into Russia increased by 6% in 2017, according to data from the Federal Customs Service.

There hadn’t been growth for several years. After the collapse of the rouble and the introduction of the import ban in 2014, the import of products had been greatly reduced. In 2016, the country imported 20% less food than two years earlier.

The main reason why this trend is changing is due to the fact that Russia has been importing more fruit and vegetables.

“The import of fruit has grown due to the greater volumes of cherries and grapes from Turkey, bananas from Ecuador or citrus fruits from South Africa,” explained the Federal Customs Service.

Besides, several countries which are not subject to sanctions have also increased the sale of vegetables to Russia.

Experts say that the stronger rouble is also helping boost imports. The cost of foreign products is declining, and consumption is increasing. This indicates that foreign vegetables are not being replaced by domestic ones, but that people have been eating more vegetables and fruits, so suppliers have been buying more.

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Russian Apple Production is a Long Way From Self Sufficiency

Despite efforts to become self-sufficient in apple production after the embargo, recent figures confirm that the country is far from being able to produce enough apples to meet domestic consumption.

According to the Ministry of Health, the average Russian consumes 50 kg of apples per year, yet, according to AB-Center, recent total production would only amounts to 5.8 kg per year per consumer. This amount includes all apples, including those for processing, so when it comes to the amount of apples for fresh consumption, the amount per person would fall even lower.

Although it seems like self-sufficiency is far from a reality, Rosstat has estimated that the total production of top fruits, a majority of these being apples, did grow by 15% in 2016. In addition, independent experts have reported that the share of imported products on shelves has, for the first time in many years, given way to Russian apples.

Although apple imports have decreased since the embargo, a recent report from UN Comtrade said that Russia is still number 3 on the list of largest apple importers in the world in 2016, with a share of 6%, totalling 678,600 mt of fresh apples. This amount had already reached 622,200 mt in the first 11 months of 2017.

In the first half of 2017, the majority of apple imports were coming in from Serbia and Moldova, with 32.1% and 26.2%, respectively. Other major suppliers include China, Belarus, Chile, Azerbaijan, South Africa and New Zealand. Bosnia and Herzegovina had also been a significant apple importer to Russia, but this is currently on hold after Rosselkhoznadzor placed a ban on the country following suspicions that they were exporting apples from Poland as their own.

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Agricultural Watchdog Allows Five More Turkish Enterprises to Supply Tomatoes to Russia

Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor has allowed five more Turkish enterprises to supply tomatoes to Russia from February 1, 2018, the regulator said in a press release.The permission was granted under the guarantee of the Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock.

Experts of Rosselkhoznadzor inspected those enterprises in December 2017. “The Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control informs that from February 1, 2018, under the guarantees of Turkey’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, it allowed five more enterprises to import tomatoes of the Turkish origin into the territory of the Russian Federation,” the ministry said.

Russia imposed a ban on imports of a number of farming products from Turkey from January 1, 2016 following the November 2015 incident with a Russian Su-24 fighter jet that was downed Turkish warplanes while returning from an anti-terrorism mission in Syria.

In November 2017, Russia allowed imports of up to 50,000 tonnes of tomatoes from Turkey. So far only three Turkish suppliers have been granted permits to supply tomatoes to Russia. The first shipment of tomatoes was delivered in mid-November 2017.

www.tass.com