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.

Agreement for Duty-Free Supply of Moldovan Fruits to Russia Extended to 2020

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Ion Kiku, announced the extension in 2020 of the duty-free regime for the export of five categories of agro-food products, including fruits and berries, from Moldova to Russia, which has been in force since the beginning of this year. The corresponding agreement was reached during a recent visit of the head of the Moldovan Cabinet of Ministers to Russia and negotiations with a Russian counterpart.

Also, the parties agreed on the expansion of the list of Moldovan agricultural producers and traders authorized to supply fruit and berry products to Russia. At the moment, only Moldovan enterprises that are included in a special list of suppliers authorized by the Rosselkhoznadzor are entitled to export agricultural products to the Russian market. Currently, this list includes a little over 150 enterprises, while no more than a third of them are active exporters of fruits and vegetables.

In the summer of this year, in response to a request from the Rosselkhoznadzor, the leadership of the National Food Safety Agency (ANSA) prepared and sent to the Russian office an additional list of potential fruit exporters that included 58 enterprises with plantations, cooling facilities, and sorting and packaging lines. To date, the list has not yet been approved by the Russian side.

The Ministry of Agriculture will Regulate the Market of Wild Plants

The Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation received the right to regulate the market of wild plants, according the government decree on the official website.

“The Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation is a federal executive body that carries out functions for the development of state policy and legal regulation in the field of agriculture <…> including the issuance of food products obtained from wild fruits, berries, nuts, mushrooms, seeds and similar forest resources, medicinal and other plants”, according to the draft of the resolution.

The department assured that they did not plan to limit the gathering of wild berries and mushrooms, but to improve the quality and efficiency of market regulation.

Russian Retailer Dixy to Launch Online Sales with Sberbank

One of the largest Russian retailers Dixy Group will launch online grocery sales of its format Viktoria in the first half of 2020, the CEO of the group Igor Pletnev told Vedomosti. Pletnev did not specify which is the marketplace the sales will be hosted on.

Currently largest e-commerce marketplaces include Wilderberries, Ozon, Beru of Yandex.Market, AliExpress, Tmall, Goods developed by electronics retailer major M.Video-Eldorado, and others.

Dixy will team up with Sberbank´s delivery and logistics service SberLogistika in development of the delivery solutions.

This year Dixy Group merged with liquor store chains Bristol and Red & White, with annual revenues of about RUB800bn ($12bn) and over 13,000 retail points of sale creating the third biggest retailer in Russia after only X5 Retail Group and Magnit.

The merger was followed with an appointment of Pletnev, an ex-development director and strategic director for Pyterochka supermarket format of country’s largest retailer X5 Group. Reportedly, Dixy and X5 have separately settled a non-compete clause in Pletnev’s contract with X5, allowing him to take the CEO position with one of the largest competitors. The new post-merger holding is controlled by owners of Dixy, Bristol, and Red & White, namely Igor Kesaev (Forbes-estimated fortune of $3.2bn), Sergei Katsiev ($1.3bn), and Sergei Studennikov ($850mn). Kesaev and Katsiev hold 51% in DBKR and Studennikov the remaining 49%.

Russia’s largest retailer X5 Group also focuses on digital solutions and develops online sales of its supermarket format. O’kay retailer also runs an online supermarket, while Magnit, Lenta, and Metro are collaborating with express delivery services.

Turkey Exports Half of its Table Grapes to Russia

According to data from the Aegean Exporters’ Association, half of the table grape exports in the period from June to October (worth $120 million) went to Russia. The overall exports surged by 15% compared to the same period of the previous season, up from $103.6 million, the data showed.

By receiving $67.1 million worth of Turkish table grapes in the said period, Russia had a share of 56% of the total exports, followed by Ukraine with $13.4 million and Germany with $6.7 million.

The western province of Manisa, which meets almost all of the exports of fresh grapes, has offered overseas markets products such as “Emperor,” “Razaki,” “Red Globe” and “Superior,” as well as the Manisa Sultani seedless grapes, a registered trademark.

In the meantime, harvest season continues in the 120,000-acre vineyard area in Sarıgöl, Manisa, renowned for its table grape production. Hayrettin Uçak, chairman of the Aegean Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association, said that they are pleased with the export of fresh grapes this season.

Stressing the quality of table grapes, Uçak added that they do not experience any difficulties in marketing. “Our manufacturers are also satisfied with the price. Sultani seedless grapes especially are in high demand,” he said. “Russia is by far the largest market in grape exports. We have had some trouble with Russia in the past, but we are fine at the moment. We went above the previous figures… We sell one bunch of grapes to Russia, the other bunch to domestic markets or European countries.”

Result of Sanctions on EU Food Imports: Russian Consumers Pay an Extra $7 billion a Year

The Russian sanctions on the import of EU food products is costing Russian consumers RUB445 billion ($7 billion) a year, or about $50 a year per head, according to a study by economists at RANEPA and CEFIR.

And the cost is mainly borne by consumers that absorb 84% of the increased costs, while food manufacturers carry only 3% of the extra burden, the study found. Food importers carry another 13% of the burden in net losses.

Russia imposed the agri-sanctions on Europe as a tit-for-tat measure after Europe and America slapped punitive sanctions on Russia following its annexation of the Crimea in May 2014. Since then President Vladimir Putin has said the Russian sanctions on food cost Europe €100 billion a year, although it is not clear where he gets this figure from.

However, mutual trade between Russia and the EU has fallen by about that amount in the last five years and many EU food exporters have been badly wounded by the Russian sanctions. Previously Russia was a major export market for things like pork and fruit. Previously Russia was a major export market for things like pork and fruit. High end processed food products like Italian cured meats and posh French cheese have almost entirely disappeared from Moscow shop shelves since the ban was introduced. (more…)