Russians Reduced Consumption of Potatoes, Dairy Products, Sweets and Bread

According to the Rosstat report, in 1980, Russians consumed 117 kg of potatoes per person per year, and in 2018 – only 59 kg. The consumption of milk and dairy products also dropped – from 390 kg to 266 kg, the consumption of sugar and sweets decreased from 35 to 31 kg and the consumption of bread products – from 112 kg to 96 kg.

At the same time, Russians began to eat more vegetables: the consumption increased from 92 kg per person per year to 104 kg, the consumption of fruits and berries increased from 35 kg to 74 kg.

Besides, Russians began to eat more meat and meat products – from 70 kg to 89 kg per year per person, the consumption of fish products also grew from 17 kg to 22 kg.

TASS: Five Years of Food Embargo. Results and Growth Paths for Russia’s Agriculture

Russia slapped a raft of measures against the European Union, the US, Australia, Canada and Norway in August 2014 in response to the EU’s and US’ sanctions, with the list expanded later by other countries. The so-called countersanctions ban imports of fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat products from a number of countries to the Russian Federation. Representatives of departments and experts have told TASS about changes in the structure of Russia’s agriculture industry and about sectors that have gained traction over the past five years, as well as what goods will be substituted in the future.

According to the data provided by the Agriculture Ministry, Russia’s food imports dropped by 31.2% in the past five years from $43.3 bln in 2013 to $29.8 bln in 2018.

“In 2018, Russian food exports amounted to $25.8 bln in value terms compared with $16.8 bln in 2013. Exports of meat and fat-and-oil products, fish and seafood, processed products demonstrated a notable growth. Russia heads the list of biggest wheat suppliers and is among top three suppliers on separate goods items. The present international trade dynamics suggests that the country will become one of top ten global agriculture exporters in the midterm,” the ministry’s representative explained.


Russia Bans Import of Chinese Fruit Due to Contamination

Russia will suspend supplies of pome and stone fruits from China starting August 10 due to cases of contaminated products’ deliveries.

A representative of the country’s veterinary and phytosanitary watchdog (Rosselkhodnadzor) told reporters on Wednesday the ban will be extended on plums, nectarines, apricots, peaches, cherry plums, cherries, sweet cherries, apples, pears, and queen apples.

“The federal veterinary and phytosanitary service is forced to suspend the supplies of pome and stone fruits from China to Russia starting August 10, 2019. The decision has been taken due to continuing cases of China-originating products contaminated with dangerous quarantine for Russia objects supplied to the country,” the regulator explained.

The watchdog plans to hold consultations with the Chinese side and inspect the places of production, storage and packing of those products, which will be followed by consideration of trade resumption.

According to the Rosselkhoznadzor, over 900,000 MT of fruits and vegetables are imported to Russia from China annually: 180,000 MT of citrus, more than 190,000 MT of apples, pears, plums, nectarines, apricots, peaches, more than 80,000 MT of tomatoes, about 53,000 MT of potatoes, as well as 100,000 MT of onions and garlic.

In May, Rosselkhoznadzor lifted an import ban on stone fruit from North Macedonia and Serbia, imposed in August 2018. Some fruit from the two countries was banned after the watchdog said it had found the Monilinia fructicola fungus in Serbian peaches and apricots and in batches of fruit from North Macedonia.,

Russia to Toughen Rules for Transportation of Fruits, Vegetables Across Border from August 19

New rules for the transportation of fruits, vegetables and flowers across the border of Russia will take effect from August 19. Under the new requirements, people will be allowed to transport no more than 5 kg of vegetables and fruits in their luggage without special phytosanitary certificates.

Also, under the new rules, no more than three bouquets of flowers will be allowed for transportation in the baggage and hand luggage. Each bouquet can contain no more than 15 flowers, leaves or other plant parts.

Transportation of larger quantities of fruits, vegetables and plants will require phytosanitary certificates. In case of their absence, the regulated products will either be returned back or destroyed at the expense of the owner.

The new rules will be extended to all types of transport, including water, air, rail and road transport. In addition, the innovations will also concern members of the crews of ships, aircraft and dining cars crossing the border of the Eurasian Economic Union, as well as mailings.

A spokesperson with the Russian agricultural watchdog (Rosselkhoznadzor) told TASS that the government decree is designed to “harmonize the norms of supranational and Russian legislation.”

“Those rules that are set by the resolution, we have been observing them since July 2017, they were fixed by the decision of the Eurasian Economic Commission. The government resolution has been issued for harmonization of legislation,” the spokesperson said.

Previously, individuals did not have to obtain phytosanitary certificates for transporting vegetables, fruits and flowers in their luggage with the exception of seeds and potatoes.

Russia Prevents 3,000 MT of Illegal Imports Since Introduction of Sanctions

Russian consumer safety watchdog, the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being (Rospotrebnadzor) has prevented shipments of more than 2,900 MT of products banned for import since sanctions were introduced, the watchdog said in a report on its website.

“Over the entire period of sanctions, at the checkpoints on the state border of the Russian Federation, the employees of Rospotrebnadzor prevented imports of more than 2,900 MT of prohibited goods,” the statement read.

Since the summer of 2014, 985 MT of import-banned products as well as goods lacking reliable information about their origin have been withdrawn from sale and destroyed.

According to the Rospotrebnadzor, vegetables and fruits accounted for more than half of such products (63%).

In addition, since the commencement of the sanctions, Rospotrebnadzor imposed administrative fines totaling about 866.5 mln rubles ($13.8 mln) on business entities that import and sell products banned for import.

In the summer of 2014, Russia banned imports of a number of food products from the United States, Norway, Australia, Canada and the EU countries in response to anti-Russian sanctions imposed over the situation in Ukraine. Since 2015, the products that have been subject to restrictive measures are destroyed.

Russia’s VAT on Fruit and Berries to be Reduced to 10%

The Government of the Russian Federation will reduce the VAT on fruit down to 10%. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev tweeted that he had decided to reduce the VAT on fruit and berries to 10%, as in his opinion, this should lead to lower prices and to the development of the domestic horticultural economy.

The Prime Minister said that the decision on whether to reduce the tax from 20 to 10% was made after a discussion with members of the government and deputies of the State Duma. Medvedev added that on July 10, during a visit to the headquarters of United Russia, it was agreed that the bill would be submitted by deputies to the State Duma.

The head of the Duma faction of United Russia, Sergei Neverov, said earlier that the bill was ready for submission to the Duma. He also said that all factions consider the issue of supporting fruit and berry producers as a priority, as Russian producers are yet unable to supply the volume that would cover the country’s needs.

Amendments are planned to be made to Article 164 of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation.

The preferential VAT rate of 10% applies to a specific list of goods, including meat, meat products, milk, dairy products, eggs, vegetable oils, margarine, sugar, salt, grain, animal feed, bread and bakery products, fish, seafood, baby and diabetic food. From January 1 of the current year, fruits and berries were taxed at a rate of 20%.

Russia Lifts Ban on Rail Transit of Sanctioned EU Products

Russia has lifted the ban on transit traffic for a range of products that were previously sanctioned, including agricultural products and foodstuffs. The measure is effective per 1 July, subjective to certain conditions, reported by the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation.

The decision is considered a major breakthrough for Eurasian rail freight traffic. The transit of the products described was banned since August 2014 when originating from Europe, Norway, the US, Canada or Australia. The ban has had great impact on rail freight traffic between Europe and Asia, as Russia is one of the main transit countries on the New Silk Road. Until now, agricultural products, raw materials and foodstuffs could only be transported to China via routes bypassing Russia, resulting in much longer transit times.

It is important to note that the decree refers to rail and truck transport that enters the Russian territory in transit, on the way to a third country. Thus, the import ban is still in place for products of the type described when destined for the Russian market. With this distinction, the Russian government seems to respond to the growing demand of Eurasian transport services across its country. According to the Russian ministry, the new rules will allow for a volume increase by 82 thousand international transportations per year.

Russia Extended the Benefits on the Import of Vegetables and Fruit from Moldova

The Russian government extended the preferential regime for the supply of fruits and vegetables from Moldova until the end of 2019. The corresponding resolution is published in on the website of the Russian government.

The zero rate for customs duty will apply to the following goods: vegetables and some edible roots and tubers; fresh apples, pears, quince, apricots, cherries, peaches (including nectarines), plums and thorns; vegetables cooked or canned, without the addition of vinegar or acetic acid, unfrozen, except for the products of HS code 2006; grape natural wines, including fortified, grape must, except as specified in HS code 2009.

There are instructions for the Ministry of Economical Developmet, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation to make, if necessary, until 20 September the proposal to change the term of application of the zero rate. Monthly monitoring of import of products will be carried out by the Federal customs service.

It is noted that due to the preferential regime, the volume of deliveries to Russia for four commodity groups in January – May 2019 increased significantly compared to the same period in 2018. The import of vegetables increased from 360 MT to almost 2,370 MT, or 6.6 times more. The import of apples increased from 100,000 MT to almost 167,000 MT, or by 67%. The import of canned products grew from 1,275 MT to almost 1,940 MT during the reported period.

Prices Change of Fruits and Vegetables in Russia in 2018-2019

The research of changes in prices for fruits and vegetables was carried out by analysts of the AGRO24 trading platform based on the prices of four online stores in Moscow: Utkonos, VkusVill, Perekrestok and Metro Cash & Carry.

The average retail prices for pears increased by 13%: it cost 165 rubles last year, and now it costs 188 rubles per kilogram. Bananas also scored in price: these farmers can now be bought for 76 rubles, and in June 2018 it cost 61 rubles. Oranges have decreased in price by 15–20%: the price value of last year was 113 rubles, now it is 93 rubles. Apples, like oranges, have fallen in price: they can now be purchased at a price of 121 rubles, and in 2018 – 140 rubles.

The price of cabbage has increased in the range from 40% to 60%. This year it can be purchased at an average price of 62 rubles, and in the past – 30 rubles each. This is the biggest price increase in our research.

The price of cucumbers increased by 16% compared to the same period last year. In June last year, the price was 118 rubles, now cucumbers cost 137 rubles per kilogram.

There is a strong jump in the price of potatoes this year compared with the past. The average retail price gained 40% per year. In 2018, potatoes could be bought at a price of 43 rubles, now it will cost 61 rubles.

Tomatoes also rose in price compared to June 2018: last year they cost 272 rubles, in this – 286 rubles. The price of tomatoes increased by 5–15%.

Onions, like cabbage, have greatly increased in price compared to the same period last year: prices have increased by 56%. Onions cost 39 rubles, now it costs 61 rubles. Prices for beets, compared with other vegetables, decreased by 15–20%. The main product of the “borsch set” in 2018 could be purchased at a price of 69 rubles, in 2019 – 45 rubles. The price for carrots also decreased by 10–20%. Last June, carrots cost 68 rubles, this year – 55 rubles per kilogram.

Russia Extends Counter-Sanctions Against US and EU Till 2020

President Vladimir Putin has signed a law prolonging the embargo against Western countries that have imposed anti-Russia sanctions. Restrictions will be in force until the end of next year.

The document which was published on Russia’s official portal of legal information, reads: “To extend from January 1 to December 31, 2020 the operation of certain special economic measures stipulated by the presidential decree of August 6, 2014.”

Five years ago, the Kremlin banned imports of certain agricultural products, raw materials and foodstuffs from Western countries that target Russia with sanctions. They include the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia, Norway, Iceland, Albania, Montenegro, Liechtenstein, and Ukraine.

The embargo came in response to US and EU economic sanctions over Moscow’s reunification with Crimea and alleged involvement in the military conflict in eastern Ukraine. The restrictions targeted finance, energy and defense sectors of the Russian economy.

Mutual sanctions have been prolonged and extended since then, despite proving ineffective and harmful to the sides. On Thursday, the European Union extended economic sanctions against Russia for another year.