Egyptian Potatoes Readmitted to Russian Market

From 6 June 2018, Egypt is again allowed to supply potatoes to Russia from eight regions. A ban had been introduced due to cases of brown rot, as reported by the official Egyptian news agency MENA, citing the words of the Minister of Industry and Trade of Egypt, Tarek Kabila.

“The Russian authorities have agreed to lift the ban on the import of Egyptian potatoes from eight regions; imports from these areas are allowed again from 6 June,” T. Kabil said.

He explained that such a decision became possible following the negotiations of the Russian-Egyptian intergovernmental commission, which met in Moscow in late May. There were also a series of visits, and moreover, Egypt sent Russia the results of checks on Egyptian agricultural products, which confirmed their compliance with international standards.

Egyptian Fruit and Veg Exports to Russia: 77% of the Total Exports

Egyptian minister of Trade and Industry, Tarek Kabil, announced that Egyptian exports to Russian markets increased by 32.8% from January to November 2017, reaching $464.8 mln compared to $350 mln during the same period of 2016.

For his part, Ahmed Antar, first deputy minister of Trade and Industry and head of the Egyptian Commercial Service Office, said that the intensive promotional efforts carried out by the Egyptian Commercial Office in Moscow resulted in providing more export opportunities.

Nasser Hamed, head of the Egyptian Commercial Office in Moscow, said that Egyptian exports of vegetables and fruits to Russia increased by 39%. Thereby they were amounting to about $359 mln in the first 11 months of 2017, compared to about $258.5 mln during the same period of 2016.

He pointed out that Egyptian exports of vegetables and fruits to Russia represent 77% of the total Egyptian exports to Russia.

Kabil assured that currently there are still negotiations with the Eurasian Economic Union about the road map for the free trade areas (FTA) agreement, scheduled to be launched in the next few months. The Eurasian Economic Union includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan, so this agreement will increase bilateral trade relations between Egypt and the markets of these countries.

Russia increased fruit and veg imports from Egypt

In the first half of this year, Russians imported about 362.5 thousand tonnes of fruit and vegetables from Egypt, compared to 310.5 thousand tonnes in the same period a year earlier. During 2015, the total volume purchased by Russia from Egypt reached 364.7 thousand tonnes, reports FAMMU/FAPA, based on data from Factsheet Russia.

The most imported products from Egypt between January and June this year were oranges, with 250.3 thousand tonnes, and onions, with 79.5 thousand tonnes. For comparison, in the corresponding first six months of the previous year, the volume of oranges purchased reached 201.5 thousand tonnes and that of onions stood at 91.4 thousand tonnes.

Besides these, Russians also imported almost 10 thousand tonnes of Egyptian mandarins, nearly 6 thousand tonnes of grapes and about 3.5 thousand tonnes of lemons, tomatoes and garlic.

Russia lifts boycott on Egypt

The boycott of Egyptian fruit and vegetables, with the exception of potatoes, will be lifted since October 1, according to the Russian press agency Tass.

“The parties reached an agreement on the export of Egyptian fruit and vegetables,” said the Russian phytosanitary service. The Egyptian companies now meet the phytosanitary requirements that have been set by Russia. A Russian delegation will visit the country in order to evaluate the situation in October and November. During this final visit, the potato export will be evaluated. Exports have been boycotted by Russia since September 22.

Import temporary suspension of Egyptian fruit and vegetables to Russia starts on September 22

Russia announced a temporary suspension of imports of fruit and vegetables from Egypt beginning on September 22.

Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) did not disclose a full list of products that would be banned, but is is said that the list included citrus, tomato and potato. The official reason for the ban is “systematic breach of international and phytosanitary requirements” in “massive supplies” of Egyptian fruit and vegetables shipped to Russia.

Russia is one of Egypt’s top export markets for fruit. It sold some $350 million in agricultural commodities last year to Russia, including 400,000 MT of oranges, or 30% of its total orange exports, the trade ministry statement said.

Russia’s decision to suspend imports of fruit and vegetables from Egypt is not a counter-measure against Cairo’s rejection of Russia’s wheat, Interfax news agency quoted Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich as saying on Tuesday. Before that Egypt rejected 60,000 MT wheat shipment from Russia due to issues with ergot fungus.

The ban will have no impact on Russia’s inflation, Dvorkovich said, according to TASS and RIA news agencies.

Egyptian export figures to Russia

The Egyptian export of fruit to Russia amounted to 183.59 million dollar last year. That is equal to 44 per cent of total Egyptian export to Russia. The main products were oranges, grapes and strawberries. Vegetable export amounted to 165.99 million dollars, or 40 per cent of Egyptian export to Russia. The main products were potatoes, onions, garlic and tomatoes.

Russian investments in Egypt are estimated at 62.77 million dollar. There are 408 Russian companies involved. With these figures, Russia is in 47th place of the largest investors in Egypt.

Remarkable development of Egyptian exports to Russia

Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry, reported that the country’s agricultural exports have seen a remarkable development, especially potatoes, which registered a 144.8% increase, frozen vegetables, up 900%, machinery and appliances, up 681.3% and processed vegetables and fruit, with an 823.1% growth.

He pointed out in a press statement that this is mostly the result of the efforts made by the Ministry in helping Egyptian companies to access the Russian market, as well as to the promotional campaigns carried out by the Egyptian Commercial Office in Moscow for many Egyptian products, which facilitated the opening of communication channels with major Russian importers.

These campaigns resulted in the provision of more than 70 export opportunities, contributing to the shipment of new and non-traditional products (not only food products) to the Russian market.

Russia offers “green corridor” for Middle East produce

The President of the Russian Customs Service, Andrei Belianinov, announced this Wednesday that Egypt, Jordan and Turkey have been offered the creation of a “green corridor” to facilitate the supply of fruit and vegetables from these countries to the Russian Federation.

During his speech in front of the Russian Duma, Blianinov stated that Moscow has issued the proposal to Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, as well as Azerbaijan, to facilitate the supply of perishable products and ensure their freshness on arrival.

It is worth mentioning that other countries, like Syria, also seek to create a “green corridor” with Russia, so as to facilitate the transfer of goods and agricultural products to Moscow, since the size of the Russian market is estimated at 12 billion Euro per year.

Temporary ban on Egyptian potato imports

Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) has imposed a temporary ban on the import of potatoes from Egypt.

The reason is the frequent violation of regulations in the field of plant quarantine. Russian phytosanitary services detected brown rot bacteria and golden cyst nematode in Egyptian potatoes. Since the introduction of the EU embargo on fruits and vegetables, the import of Egyptian potatoes by Russia exceeded 300 thousand tonnes.


Russia bans oranges from Egypt

Russia has lifted ban on ten Egyptian companies exporting citrus fruits (mainly oranges) to Moscow, state’s news agency MENA reported on Friday.

The 2013/14 citrus annual report of US Department of Agriculture said Egypt has been facing the Mediterranean fruit fly, which is the main economic pest negatively affecting production and exports.

Accordingly, complaints have been raised by some importing countries such as Russia and Ukraine after detecting some shipments infected with fruit flies.

The Egyptian government is funding the “Fruit Fly Resistance Project” that aims to control the spread of this pest and administers other regulations that have been in place in order to control the quality of the exported fruit.

Despite the complaints and the Russian ban, Egypt’s orange exports registered 37 percent of the total agricultural crops in 2012/13, recording 16,000 tonnes turning out some LE41 million, the Egyptian Agricultural export council showed.