Russia Again Top Market for Turkey’s Fruit & Vegetable Exports

Turkey’s fresh fruit and vegetable exports to 118 countries amounted to $622.5 million in the first four months of the year, with Russia taking the lead among markets with $184.2 million in that  period.

According to the Eastern Black Sea Exporters’ Association (DKİB) data, in January-April 2019, $622.5 million was generated from Turkey’s fresh fruit and vegetable exports of 1.1 million tons to 118 countries. In this period, the Russian Federation ranked first with $184.2 million, followed by Iraq with $61.9 million and Romania with $60 million.

Russia Loses $30Bln a Year in Post-Crimea Investment Climate

Russia is losing at least $30 billion every year due to the investment climate that has followed its annexation of Crimea, economist Sergei Guriev said in an interview published Monday.

Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine has weakened Russia’s relations with the West, launching multiple rounds of sanctions from the U.S. and the EU as well as a drop in foreign investment.

Each percentage point that doesn’t go into GDP growth equals a loss of $15 billion, Guriev told Russia’s The Bell business outlet. The Russian economy grew by 2.3 percent in 2018, according to official data.

“If it’s 2 [percentage points lost], then [Russia’s losses total] $30 billion a year,” the chief economist of the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said.

Up to $300 billion has been lost since Russia annexed Crimea, the Bell cited Guriev as saying, adding that Central Bank data puts the losses at $320 billion.

“In total, something like $1 trillion has fled Russia in 20 years,” he told the outlet.

Fruits and Vegetables will Pass through the Tajikistan-Russia Simplified Corridor

Five groups of foods products can pass through the Tajikistan-Russia simplified corridor.

Tajikistan and Russia have agreed to simplify customs procedures.  An agreement between Tajikistan’s Customs Service and Russia’s Federal Customs Service on simplifying customs procedures for movement of goods and vehicles between Tajikistan and Russia (Simplified Customs Corridor) was signed in Moscow on April 17, 2019.

In accordance with the annex to the agreement, the following goods can pass through the Tajikistan-Russia simplified corridor:

– Vegetables and some edible roots and tubers;

– Edible fruits and nuts, citrus and melon peels;

– Unroasted Peanuts;

– Processed vegetables, fruits, nuts or other parts of plants;

– Various food products.

Persons participating in the simplified customs corridor project have some preferences.  For example, they have the priorities in customs clearance zones and customs procedures will be accelerated for them.

Russian media outlets consider that the agreement is groundwork for the possible expansion of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEC).  In an interview with Ekonimka Segodnya (Economics Today), Dmitry Verkhoturov, an expert on Central Asia at the Center for Contemporary Afghanistan Studies, said Tajikistan is seeking expansion of economic cooperation with Russia.

Russia 2019–2023: Apple Imports will Increase

In the period from 2014 to 2018, apple imports to the Russian market decreased by 23% from 1.13 to 0.87 million MT.

Among the reasons for the decline in imports, analysts have cited the introduction of Russian counter-sanctions since August 2014 and the devaluation of the ruble, after which foreign products went up in price. The state support of Russian gardening also affected the state of the market. This writes RBC with reference to the data “Analysis of the apple market in Russia,” prepared by BusinesStat.

The change in the reporting period and the structure of imports by supplier countries. So, in 2014, Poland was the main supplier of apples to the Russian market with a share of 37.1%. After the introduction of the pro-bargo, which affected Polish supplies, Belarus became the key importer with a share of 51.4%.

“Supplies of apples to Russia from this country doubled in 2015 compared to 2014 and amounted to 518,000 MT. Russian experts expressed a reasonable opinion that deliveries were made across the Belarusian border from countries in which anti-sanctions were imposed. This was supported by the fact that after the embargo was introduced by Russia, the import of apples to Belarus increased markedly,” the study notes.

In particular, in 2014, Belarusian exports increased by 2.3 times – from 180,500 MT to 414,700 MT, and in 2015 another 76.3% compared to 2014, reaching 731,100 MT. During 2016 and 2017, the volume of Belarusian supplies to Russia decreased. Last year, imports of apples from Belarus to Russia amounted to 81,600 MT.

Last year, Moldova became the main supplier of apples to the Russian market with a volume of 245,800 MT(28.3% of total Russian imports). China ranked second in shipments, sending 128,900 MT of apples to Russia, or 14.8% of total imports. Third place in the ranking of supplier countries was taken by Serbia with a share of 14.5% (125,600 MT). The fourth place was fixed for Azerbaijan (9.5%, or 82,300 MT). Analysts stressed that despite all the efforts of the Government of the Russian Federation, apples from countries that fell under counter sanctions (Poland, Ukraine) continue to enter the Russian market under the guise of Belarusian, Moldovan, Serbian.

Despite Record Apple Harvest, Russia Continues to Increase its Imports

Import substitution, which is so much talked about in Russia, has so far not yielded tangible results in the field of horticulture. Despite the very rapid expansion of the area of ​​orchards and an increase in the volume of domestic production of apples, imports of these fruits continue to grow steadily.

In the first two months of 2019, Russia imported 11% more apples than in the same period last year. Moreover, the January volume of apple imports exceeded 161,000 MT and was the highest since 2015, when, by the way, they were comparable to these volumes.

In order to understand how much more apples Russia actually imports, it is necessary to take into account that since 2015 apple consumption in the country has decreased due to four consecutive years of falling real incomes of Russian citizens and the rise in prices of products due to the devaluation of the ruble and the increase in VAT on fruits.

Experts explain this phenomenon easily; the Russian apple is of an inferior quality to its imported counterparts, so the consumer is simply not interested in it. Therefore, Russian growers are forced to sell a significant amount of crop for processing needs at bargain prices. Fortunately, the domestic market for apple concentrate is still quite capacious, and even low, according to Russian growers, prices for industrial apple are relatively high for other countries, such as Ukraine, Poland and Moldova.

However, this situation calls into question the prospects for further investment in new gardens in Russia. Protective measures, as practice shows, can do a disservice to Russian growers. After all, consumers demand quality products, which they mostly cannot yet provide.

And according to¸ even a ban on the supply of apples from the EU, the USA and Ukraine, which can give a really high-quality product, does not guarantee any protection. As soon as the apple re-export channel closes through Belarus, the import of apples to Russia from non-sub-Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Macedonia and Georgia immediately grows. These countries also became the leaders in the growth rate of apple supplies to the Russian market in the first two months of 2019.

10% of Total Russian Vegetable Imports Are Carrots

According to GidMarket analysts, in 2018, with a total volume of imported vegetables of 1.88 million MT, carrots took up 10%. The report said: “In absolute terms, the size of imports amounted to 179,400 MT. Carrots are not considered difficult to grow in culture, but imports of marketable carrots amounted to almost 10% in 2018.

It also noted that before Russia introduced food import restrictions, Poland and Holland supplied carrots to the Russian market. The share of agricultural enterprises processing Russian-made potatoes and carrots is growing, especially after the introduction of a ban on vegetables from the Netherlands, France, Germany and Finland.

Belarus Halts Re-Export of Banned Fruit and Veg to Russia

Following negotiations between the Rosselkhoznadzor and the deputy director of the Main State Inspectorate for Seed Production, Quarantine and Plant Protection, Belarus has stopped issuing certifications for banned fruits and vegetables from third countries in transit through Belarus, reports the Moscow Agency citing Rosselkhoznadzor official representative Yulia Melano.

However, those vegetables and fruits intended for consumption in Belarus will continue to be imported into the country, as the goal is to avoid illegal deliveries of such products to Russia.

On March 27, a meeting was held in Moscow between the head of the Rosselkhoznadzor and the deputy director of the Seed Inspectorate. The Russian institution drew attention to the problem of the re-export of banned products to Russia through Belarus with phytosanitary certificates issued by Belarus which, in many cases contain inaccurate information about the country of origin of the goods.

The Rosselkhoznadzor complained about the lack of statistics on the volumes of imported and customs-cleared products in Belarus and about the lack of a system to track the movement of goods. For this reason, it had called for measures and hinted at a possible ban on re-exports through Belarus.

Considerable Reduction of Russia’s Greenhouse Vegetable Imports

In January 2019, Russia imported minimal volumes of greenhouse vegetables compared to the past three years, according to analysts from EastFruit. Compared with January 2018, the value of greenhouse tomato, pepper and cucumber imports decreased by 15.2%, down to $ 79.5 million.

The drop in terms of volume was similar, with imports also falling by 15.2%. Tomato shipments totaled only 37,400 MT, which is 10.2% less than a year earlier. Those of peppers reached 14,700 MT (20.3% less), and those of cucumbers stood at 11,900 MT (22.6% less).

In January 2019, pepper and tomato shipments to Russia still exceeded the figures reached in the first month of 2017; however, the import of cucumbers continued to decline for the fifth consecutive year, falling to a record low figure (at least for the past few years).

Speaking about the reasons for the decline in imports, EastFruit analysts point to two main ones: the declining incomes of the Russian population (together with the rising VAT rates), and the growth of the country’s own greenhouse vegetable production.

Russia’s largest suppliers of greenhouse tomatoes in January 2019 were Azerbaijan, Morocco, Turkey, China and Iran. Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran sharply increased their tomato exports to Russia compared with the same month last year, while Morocco and China, on the contrary, sharply reduced their supply volumes.

Israel was the clear leader in the delivery of peppers to Russia in January, well ahead of China and Turkey. Meanwhile, Iran exported mostly cucumbers to Russia; four times more than China.

Russia’s Annual Greenhouse Tomato Production Reached 380,000 MT

In the 2017-2018 campaign, Russia’s average production of greenhouse tomatoes amounted to 380,000 MT. The statistics have been provided by researchers of the marketing agency ROIF Expert in the report “Greenhouse Tomatoes in Russia: Maximizing Production”.

It is worth noting that the share of greenhouse tomatoes in the market has reached 45%. The main market trend has been the sharp growth in the share of tomatoes against the background of a reduction in the share of cucumbers. The gross tomato harvest in 2017-2018 grew by almost 25%, while the production of greenhouse cucumbers by only 0.2%.

According to a ROIF Expert, the most negative aspects affecting the development of greenhouse tomato production in Russia until 2023 will be the depreciation of fixed assets, the high capital costs for the construction of new greenhouse complexes, the increased competition between Russian and foreign suppliers in the vegetable market, or the pressure from federal retailers. Many will also be affected by infrastructure or logistics problems.

Russia Top Market for Turkey’s Fresh Fruit, Vegetable Exports

Turkey exported approximately $365.66 million worth of fresh fruits and vegetables in the first two months of this year. It was the Russian Federation that was importing the most Turkish produce, at around $104.53 million.

According to data from the Eastern Black Sea Exporters Association (DKİB), Turkey exported 697,577 tons of fresh fruits and vegetables to 100 countries in January and February. Russia ranked first in the amount of produce imported from Turkey, followed by Iraq with $34.084 million and Romania with some $33.11 million.

On the other hand, the Eastern Black Sea Region exported 52,247 tons of fresh fruits and vegetables to 31 countries in the same period, making $29.14 million in revenue. Russia ranked first among the countries that imported fresh fruits and vegetables from the region with $22.6 million, followed by Georgia with over $2 million and Iraq with $988,045.