Russia Imported Less Fruit and Vegetables in 2019

Russian imports of fresh fruit and vegetable have seen a recovery in recent years after introducing the boycott on food products from the European Union, USA and some other countries in 2014. However, in 2019, these imports declined again. Compared to 2018, 4% fewer fruit and vegetables were imported.

The import of fresh vegetables remained at the same level as in 2018. Fresh fruit imports shrank by 5%. There was a sharp decline in the import of apples, pears, and peaches/nectarines. These fell by 17, 16, and 15%, respectively.

Mandarins are the second most imported fruit in Russia. Imports of this citrus fruit have never been as high as they were last year. The import of the major product groups such as tomatoes, oranges, and grapes was less.

Russia imported 7 million MT of fresh fruit and vegetables last year. Compared to the years before the import ban, this is 1,5 million MT less. This volume still makes Russia the third-largest importer of fresh fruit and vegetables. In first and second places are the United States and Germany.


Russia Proposes Raising Turkish Tomato Import Quota by 50,000 MT

January 31, Russia’s Agriculture Ministry proposed increasing Turkey’s tomato import quota by 50,000 MT to 200,000 MT, the RIA news agency reported.

Russia lifted a ban on vegetable imports from Turkey in November 2017 but set quotas as tensions between the two countries eased after Ankara apologized for downing a Russian military jet.

Turkish Tomato Exports to Russia on Rise, Totaling $86 Million in 2019

Turkey’s tomato exports to the Russian Federation saw a 186% increase in 2019, compared with the previous year, reaching $86.05 million in value.

According to the Southeastern Anatolia Exporters’ Association (GAİB), the country’s overall tomato exports totaled around $304.5 million in 2019, with exports to 56 countries around the world recorded at $291.8 million in 2018.

Russia ranked first among countries to which Turkish exporters sent tomatoes, with a total of $86.05 million in revenue, increasing from $30.6 million in 2018. Romania and Ukraine followed with export volumes worth $36.4 million and $30.01 million, respectively.

Greenhouse Investors and Producers Association (SERA-BİR) and GAP Greenhouse Gardeners Association Chairman Müslüm Yanmaz told Anadolu Agency that 2019 saw a decline in crop volume due to seasonal conditions, which did not reflect negatively on exports.

Yanmaz said that exporters sought to bring the tomato export volume to the levels prior to a diplomatic row between Ankara and Moscow after Turkey downed a Russian aircraft that violated Turkish airspace in March 2015.

In January 2016, 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.

However, in the summer of 2017, Moscow relaxed trade sanctions placed on the country.

Official data demonstrated that Turkey’s fresh tomato exports in 2014 were valued at $426 million while $275 million of this amount came from exports to Russia, which signifies that Russia alone constituted 65% of Turkey’s fresh tomato exports.

Yanmaz noted that exporters were actively in search of other new markets, including China.

Vegetable imports 2019

According to the SeaNews TSVT service, in January-November 2019, 2 million MT of vegetables worth $1.5 billion were imported into Russia.

In physical terms, imports fell by 14% compared to the same period in 2018, in money terms – by 3.6%.

Most of all, tomatoes are brought to Russia. According to the results of 11 months of 2019, their deliveries amounted to 484,400 MT (-6.8%) in the amount of $ 544 million (-3.1%). The largest importer of tomatoes to Russia was Azerbaijan. Significant volumes also came from Turkey, China, Morocco and Belarus.

Potato deliveries in monetary terms decreased by 39.7% to $131 million, in physical terms – by 48.1% to 295,500 MT. The largest volumes of deliveries were from Egypt, Azerbaijan, China and Pakistan.

Onion imports (this includes both onions and shallots, leeks and other varieties) amounted to 192,700 MT (+ 21%) and $79.9 million (+ 36.8%). Most of the products came from Egypt and China.

The import of carrots decreased by 2.7% to 166,399 MT; in money terms, on the contrary, it increased by 3.7% and amounted to $ 75.2 million. The largest volumes came from Israel, China and Belarus.

The largest exporters to Russia of cabbage (cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, leaf and others) in January-November 2019 were China, Uzbekistan and Iran. During the reporting period, cabbage was delivered to Russia 149,700 MT (+ 15.9%) for $70.9 million (+ 31.1%).

138,200 MT (-3.4%) were imported in the amount of $167.9 million (+ 0.6%). The main suppliers were China and Israel.

Cucumbers were imported 79,600 MT, 22.3% less compared to the same period in 2018. In monetary terms, supplies decreased by 16.2% to $ 82.6 million. Most of the volume accounted for Iran, China and Belarus.

The supply of garlic in physical terms increased by 3.9% to 48,400 MT, in money terms – by 8.8% to $67.1 million. The largest volumes came from China.

The main suppliers of canned vegetables were India, dried – China and India, frozen – Belarus, China and Serbia.

In January-November 2019, vegetables were imported to Russia from 76 countries. The main supplying countries were China, Azerbaijan and Egypt.

In January-November 2019, 453,900 MT of vegetables were imported from China, an increase of 3.4% compared to the same period in 2018. In monetary terms, imports amounted to $369.7 million (-1%).

Supplies from Azerbaijan decreased by 3.1% to 235,800 MT. In monetary terms, the import of vegetables increased by 1.5% to $210 million.

229,700 MT of vegetables (-46.7%) worth $ 118.1 million (-30%) were imported from Egypt.

Russia Approves New Food Security Doctrine

Russian president Vladimir Putin has approved a new doctrine on the country’s food security, updating the previous decree from 2010.

The decree came into force from the day it was signed on January 20. Putin instructed the government within three months to develop and approve an action plan to implement the provisions of the new doctrine.

According to the new doctrine, “Russia’s food security is the state of the country’s socio-economic development, whereby the food independence of the Russian Federation is ensured, the physical and economic availability of food products that meet mandatory requirements is guaranteed for every citizen of the country, in volumes not less than rational food consumption standards needed for an active and healthy lifestyle.”.

In the previous version of the Doctrine, to assess the state of food security, the specific weight of domestic products in the total volume of commodity resources of the domestic market, taking into account carry-over stocks, was used as a criterion. In the new document, the approach has been changed: now food independence is defined as the level of self-sufficiency, which is calculated as the ratio of the volume of domestic production to the volume of domestic consumption of the products.

The document also highlights the interests of the state for the long term. Among them are the sustainable development and modernisation of agriculture and fisheries, agricultural production, feed, livestock breeding, seed selection. Also in the long term, the state is interested in banning the import of GMO, raising and breeding animals whose genetics were changed.

The document also sets thresholds for certain product groups, with self-sufficiency rates of at least:

  • 95% for grain;
  • 90% for sugar;
  • 90% for vegetable oil;
  • 85% for meat and meat products;
  • 90% for milk and dairy products;
  • 85% for fish and for fish products;
  • 95% for potatoes;
  • 90% for vegetables and melons;
  • 60% for fruits and berries;
  • 75% for seeds of the main crops of domestic selection;
  • 85% for table salt.

The previous version of the food security doctrine did not mention the category of fruits and vegetables.

Russia Temporarily Suspends the Import of Chinese Citrus

The Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) has decided to temporarily ban the import of citrus from China after intercepting harmful organisms in shipments of these fruits. After issuing a warning to China on December 13, 2019, the Rosselkhoznadzor made the measure effective on January 6.

It is worth recalling that in August last year, Russia suspended the import of many stone fruits from China, such as plums, nectarines, apricots, peaches and cherries, as well as of apples and pears, as a result of the regular finding of harmful organisms, such as the Oriental fruit fly, during inspections.

After the implementation of the ban, China invited Russia to audit the agricultural inspection and quarantine control systems. However, according to reports, Russia was not satisfied with the results of the audit.

The announcement issued on the official Rosselkhoznadzor website states that Russia would temporarily restrict citrus imports from China until this country establishes effective measures to comply with Russian standards regarding the safety of imported food.

Turkish Citrus Exports to Russia are Led by Mandarins

During the first eleven months of 2019, Turkey exported 393,548 MT of citrus fruits worth 214.7 million dollars to Russia, according to data of the Eastern Black Sea Exporters Union (DKIB) for the period between January and November.

Mandarin was the most exported citrus with 230,352 MT worth 118 million dollars.

Turkish lemon exports to Russia during this period amounted to 55 million dollars while orange exports totaled 23.7 million dollars.

Intertorg Closing its Supermarkets in St. Petersburg and Other Cities

In St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region, some of Spar and Semija supermarkets were closed. The management of the retailer decided to close 37 unprofitable stores, 20 stores in St. Petersburg, 11 in the Leningrad region, 3 in Murmansk and 3 the Murmanks region and in Petrozavodsk. In summer and autumn, the stores in Cherepovets, Velikij Novgorod and other smaller cities were closed.

At the beginning of October 2019, Intertorg managed 249 supermarkets Semija, 8 supermarkets Idea, as well as 184 supermarkets and 11 hypermarkets of the international brand Spar, which Intertorg is developing under franchising.

The volume of claims against Trading House Intertorg doubled in a month – up to 1.8 billion rubles.

The retailer problems can provoke a massive default of medium and small distributors.,


More Moldovan Fruit and Veg Exporters Will be Allowed to Ship to Russia in 2020

In 2020, the number of fruit and vegetable companies allowed to export to the Russian market will increase from 130 to 350. Also, more goods will be exported to the Russian market without customs duties.

These are the results of the visit to Moscow of Agriculture Minister Ion Perju, who is also the co-chair of the Moldovan-Russian Intergovernmental Commission for Trade-Economic Cooperation.

These results were not reported by the Ministry of Agriculture, but by the head of state, Igor Dodon.

“Ion Perju informed me of the results of his recent visit to Moscow, during which he held a meeting with his Russian counterpart, the co-chairman of the Moldovan-Russian Commission, Dmitry Patrusev,” said Igor Dodon on his Facebook page.

Another result of the visit is the increase in the number of transport authorizations that Russia will grant to carriers from the Republic of Moldova, which is being set at 16,000.

Ion Perju informed the head of state that he asked the officials of the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance to inspect an additional 33 wineries and four canning companies in order to grant them access to the Russian market.

Over Half of Georgian Mandarin Exported to Russia

According to the data of November 20, 2019, the export of Georgian mandarin amounted to 1,658 tons, the Georgian Ministry of Environment and Agriculture told EastFruit.

According to the ministry, in the first place in the export of tangerine, as a year earlier, is Russia, where 906 MT were delivered (55%). Export was also carried out to Armenia (468 MT), Ukraine (222 MT), Latvia (41 MT) and Azerbaijan (22 MT).

Harvesting of mandarin in Georgia began in the second decade of November, it is expected that in the coming days it will enter the active phase. According to the ministry, the mandarins of this year’s harvest are mostly of high quality, which was due to tangible progress in the fight against marble bugs that harm many crops, including citrus. Accordingly, farmers can rely on higher purchase prices.

Currently, the average purchase price for a standard mandarin is approximately 0.6 GEL ($0.2 at the current exchange rate) per 1 kg.

“As for export markets, Russia and Ukraine are traditional in this case. It is important that as a result of the work done, interest has also appeared from Belarus. I hope that the logistics issues will be settled, and the Georgian mandarin will be established in the Belarusian market. Our products are competitive, they meet all the requirements for packaging, proper delivery and delivery. Today, Georgian mandarin is presented on the market in accordance with modern standards. Last year, we successfully exported trial lots to Poland, the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. These export destinations will not replace existing markets, but we expect them to grow and contribute to diversification, ”said Levan Davitashvili, Minister of Environment and Agriculture of Georgia.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Adjara Autonomous Republic, more than 20 enterprises are engaged in receiving from farmers, sorting and packing export mandarin in Adjara (the main supplier of this citrus to the market). Separately provided for the reception of non-standard mandarin. The refrigeration capacities of the region allow cooling and storing about 7 thousand tons of mandarin simultaneously.

To facilitate the organized and unhindered delivery of citrus fruits by farmers to the Ministry of Agriculture of Adjara, a coordination headquarters has been opened. A hotline is available to quickly obtain information.

According to the National Statistics Service of Georgia, the mandarin crop in the country in 2018 amounted to 62,300 MT. The volume of exports of fresh or dried tangerines at the end of 2018 amounted to $13,989,800.