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.