Temporary Price Increases for Fruits in Russia Predicted for Winter and Spring 2021

According to preliminary estimates from the Horticulture Union of the Russian Federation, the apple harvest in the commodity sector amounted to 708,000 mt in 2020, which is 30% lower than a year earlier due to late frosts in a number of major producing regions. However, experts have not yet noted an increase in fruit imports in relation to the decline in the harvest.

The company Technology Growth believes that fruit and berry imports in 2020 remained at the level of 2019. Russia imported about 1.7 million mt of traditional fruits – apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and grapes. “This result was achieved due to the high harvest in 2019 and in the first half of 2020 there were very few imports. Before the New Year, our enterprises were selling products harvested last autumn,” explains the general director of the company Tamara Reshetnikova. “However, in 2021, due to a low harvest, the import of fruits will increase since its supply will be limited. Prices for all fruits will increase in winter and spring,” the company experts predict.

However, the growth in import volumes and prices will be temporary believes the Horticulture Union believes. If there are no weather disasters, the fruit harvest in 2021 will exceed the record figure of 2019. “The fact is that 2018 and 2019 became record-breaking years for the establishment of perennial orchards and this year they will begin to bear fruit. Accordingly, in the new year one can expect not only a record collection but also a decrease in prices on the shelf and a decrease in imports,” Mikhail Glushkov, director of the Horticulture Union told Agroinvestor.

The Russian Farmers Association is also optimistic. Its president Igor Mukhanin recalls that in 2019, there were 16,000 hectares of orchards planted despite the original plan of 10,500 hectares and in 2020, another 14,000 hectares were added. “Apple production annually increases by 150,000-200,000 mt and the productivity of orchards is growing. If such rates continue, then in five to six years, our country will completely replace its demand for marketable apples, which is 2 million mt against 1 million mt being produced now,” he said.

Mr. Mukhanin adds that in a few years when Russian farmers saturate the market with apples of their own production, they will be able to export them. “We have high export potential. We grow apples with minimal use of herbicides and pesticides – three times less than in Poland and five times less than in Italy. Due to the fact that Russia has cold winters and a temperate climate, we do not have such an acute problem with pests, there is no need to cultivate orchards all year round,” Igor Mukhanin emphasizes. He is sure that horticulture is the industry that could help in the development of rural areas.


Russia Bans the Supply of Selected Fruits and Vegetables from Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey

The list of new bans announced by Rosselkhoznadzor citing quarantine issues with supplies of vegetables and fruits to Russia as they unfolded this week.

– Ban on the supply of greenhouse tomatoes and peppers to Russia from the Fergana region of Uzbekistan due to the detection of the tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV);

– Ban on the supply of dried apricots and all plant products to Russia from the Fergana region of Uzbekistan after the discovery of a quarantine object – the khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium Ev.) – in a batch of dried apricots for Russia and the EAEU member states;

– Ban on the supply of greenhouse tomatoes and peppers from the Kashkadarya region of Uzbekistan due to the discovery of the tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) and for the same reason from the Navoi region of Uzbekistan;

– Ban on the supply of greenhouse tomatoes and peppers to Russia from the Armavir region of Armenia due to the detection of the Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV) in a batch of products;

– Ban on the supply of apples and greenhouse tomatoes from Azerbaijan to Russia due to multiple violations of quarantine laws. This, according to EastFruit, will also affect a significant part of the supply of these products from Iran since a significant amount of Iran’s products enters Russia in transit through Azerbaijan;

– Ban on the supply of greenhouse tomatoes and peppers from the Izmir and Antalya provinces in Turkey due to the systematic identification of quarantine objects such as South American tomato moth (Tuta absoluta (Meyrick)), Western California (flower) thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis (Perg)), Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV), tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV), and tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV).

– Ban, more than a month ago, on the imports of tomatoes and peppers from Grodno, Gomel, Minsk, and Brest regions of Belarus due to the detection of the Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV).


Rosselkhoznadzor bans import of tomatoes and apples from Azerbaijan from December 10

Starting fromDecember 10, the Rosselkhoznadzor banned the import of apples and tomatoes from Azerbaijan to Russia due to the detection of pests in products from this country, the Russian department said.

Earlier, the Rosselkhoznadzor reported to the Food Safety Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan about cases of detection of objects quarantine for the EAEU member states in regulated products that are supplied to Russia.

The department noted that in order to prevent the import and spread of pests in Russia, the Rosselkhoznadzor prohibits the import of tomatoes and apples of Azerbaijani origin into Russia from December 10, 2020.

The Rosselkhoznadzor also clarified that since October 22, 2020, 17 cases of South American tomato moth (Tuta absoluta (Povolny) and eastern moth (Grapholita molesta (Busck)) have been detected in apple and tomatoes from Azerbaijan.


Georgia Exported over 7,800 mt of persimmons since start of season

The Ministry of Environment and Agriculture of Georgia reported that Georgia exported 7,824 mt of persimmons (including the kinglet variety) from 1 August 2020 to 23 November 2020, which is up 14% than a year ago. In monetary terms, persimmons exports amounted to $4.2 million, which is 18% more than last year. Also, “during this period, the export price for persimmons increased by 4%,” the ministry said.

Russia received the most persimmons from Georgia at 3,377 mt (or 43% of the total export of this crop) followed in second place by Ukraine with 2,832 mt among export markets and Armenia in third place with 1,475 mt. Georgian persimmons are also exported to Belarus, Qatar, Moldova, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, and Hungary.

According to official data, Georgia exported roughly 8,000 mt of persimmons in all of 2019. The main sales markets were Armenia (4,300 mt), Ukraine (2,700 mt), and Russia (800 mt). In monetary terms, exports amounted to $4.2 million.

Mass harvesting of persimmons in Georgia usually takes place from the second half of October to the second half of November. Persimmon fruiting in many modern orchards begins in September and continues for several months. Of note is that more than 100 hectares of intensive persimmon orchards were developed with the support of the state project “Plant the Future.”

Persimmons production has been growing in Georgia over the past 3 years. The harvest of persimmon amounted to 8,900 mt in 2017, 10,000 tons in 2018, and 14,300 mt in 2019.

The main regions of Georgia supplying persimmons to the market are the Kakheti region in Eastern Georgia, Imereti and Samegrelo regions in Western Georgia, and the Adjara region.


The share of imported vegetables in Russia may decrease to 10% in five years

Over the next five years, the share of imported vegetables on the Russian market may decrease from 16% to 10%. This forecast is given by the Center for Industry Expertise of the Russian Agricultural Bank. According to the forecast, in 2019, 558,000 mt of tomatoes and about 100,000 mt of cucumbers were imported to the Russian Federation, and by 2025 the import of these products may decrease to 347,000 mt and 36,000 mt, respectively.

According to forecasts of the Ministry of Agriculture, this year the production of greenhouse vegetables will increase by 6.1%, to 1.25 million mt year-on-year, which will be a record figure. The Center for Industry Expertise of the Russian Agricultural Bank expects that Russian operators of greenhouse facilities will continue to increase production by an average of 7% per year. And the consumption of fresh vegetables in the country will grow by about 1% annually and will reach 115 kg per capita by 2028. Today it is  109 kg per capita.

Producers of greenhouse vegetables applied to the Ministry of Agriculture with a request to allocate 5 billion rubles from the budget of incentive subsidies to compensate for the part of the costs. As noted in the association “Greenhouses of Russia”, options for supporting the greenhouse industry needs to be intensified, as companies are faced with a decrease in consumer demand and the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the profitability of greenhouse operators fell to 5-7%.


The Main Buyer of Bielorussian Potatoes in H1 of 2020 was Ukraine, vegetables – Russia

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Republic of Belarus, in January-September 2020, the country’s organizations exported agricultural products and food products worth more than $4,2 billion, or 106,1% against the level of the corresponding period of 2019.

The export of crop products amounted to $363,8 million.

The most export-oriented are fresh vegetables – with a share of 44,5% of the total export of crop products, fruits and berries – 29,7%, potatoes – 7,7%, flax fiber – 3,6%.

The geography of export of crop products in January-September 2020 includes 39 countries of the world. The most volumetric supplies traditionally fall on the neighboring countries (the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan) and the countries of the European Union (Germany, Lithuania, Poland, France).

Export of fresh vegetables amounted to 248,6 thousand mt. in the amount of $161,7 million. Vegetables were exported to 29 countries of the world, of which 78,5% – to Russia ($126,9 million), to Germany – 6,3% ($10,1 million), Lithuania – 4,9% ($7,9 million), Poland – 3,8% ($6,2 million) and other countries.

For 9 months of this year, 185,2 thousand mt of potatoes were exported to the amount of 27,9 million US dollars. The export geography includes 8 countries (Ukraine – 144,6 thousand mt, Russia – 29,2 thousand mt, Moldova – 10,1 thousand mt and others).


Putin Extends Counter-Sanctions Until End of 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree extending certain special economic measures against countries that have imposed sanctions on the Russian Federation until December 31, 2021. The document was published on Saturday on the official website of legal information.

The government has been instructed to ensure the implementation of the decree and, if necessary, make proposals to change the period of validity of these counter-sanctions.

In March 2014, due to the situation in Ukraine, the European Union and a number of countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand, Iceland, began to impose sanctions on Russia. In particular, it included sanctions lists of Russian individuals and legal entities. Restrictive measures included a ban on entry, freezing of accounts. In addition, the so-called sectoral sanctions were introduced: the assets of the companies falling under them were not frozen, but restrictions were imposed on medium and long-term lending.

In response, on August 6, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree, based on which the Russian government imposed a ban on imports of a number of food products from the United States, the European Union, Norway, Australia, and Canada.

After the EU countries extended sanctions against Russia on June 22, 2015, on June 24, Putin extended the food embargo for another year. Subsequently, it was extended three times, most recently on June 24, 2019, until the end of 2020.

In June 2019, Putin extended counter-sanctions until December 31, 2020, and amended the norms of the original decree on counter-sanctions from August 6, 2014, and the decree from October 22, 2018, on counter-sanctions against Ukraine.


Republic of Georgia: Fruit and Nut Exports Soaring

According to the National Statistics Service of Georgia (Geostat), the volume of exports of fruits and nuts from Georgia amounted to $69.68 million in value, from January through August 2020. The share of fruits and nuts in Georgia’s total exports for the reported period amounted to 3.4%.

The major part of exports accounted for hazelnuts – $28.30 million, peaches, including nectarines – $20.07 million, tangerines – $3.84 million, blueberries and other berries – $3.79 million, bananas – $2.28 million, oranges – $1.82 million, apples – $1.63 million, lemons – $1.15 million and figs – $950,000.

Compared to the same period last year, the export of fruits increased by 45.2%. In the first six months of 2019, the volume of exports of fruits and nuts amounted to $29.19 million. Their share in the total volume of Georgian exports was 1.6%.

Georgia exported 19,86 mt of apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, and sloes to Russia in a total amount of $19.3 million from January through September 2020.

From January through September 2020, the foreign trade turnover between Georgia and Russia exceeded $934.6 million, which comprises 11.5% of the total trade turnover of Georgia.

During the reporting period, Georgia exported products worth $308.6 million to the Russian market, which is 12.8% of total exports.


Russia’s Vegetable Production Has Grown by 6%

According to the operational data of the regional governing bodies of the agro-industrial complex, as of October 27, 2020, about 5.3 million mt of vegetables have been harvested in Russia, which is 6% more than in the same period of 2019.

In winter greenhouses, 1.1 million mt have been grown, which is 18.2% more than last year (930.5 thousand tons). The harvest of greenhouse cucumbers amounted to 647 thousand mt (+14.3%) and that of tomatoes to 410.1 thousand mt (+18.6%). In spring greenhouses, 1.13 million mt of vegetables have been harvested during the period at hand. Lipetsk, Moscow, Volgograd, Kaluga, Novosibirsk, the Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories and the Republics of Karachay-Cherkessia, Tatarstan, and Bashkortostan are among the top ten regions leading the production of vegetables in winter greenhouses.

As of the above date, 4.15 million mt of vegetables have been harvested in the open ground. The biggest share corresponds to onions (22.3%), tomatoes (18.5%), cabbage (17.8%), and carrots (13.6%).

These results are a direct consequence of the support measures implemented by the state, which have contributed to the sector’s development. Within the framework of the incentive subsidies, the constituent entities of the Russian Federation have the right to choose priority areas, which allows the regions to provide additional support to growers engaged in the production of vegetables. There are also mechanisms of grant support for producers and cooperatives and a set of other measures being implemented.


Russia is the World’s Fourth Largest Banana Consumer

Russia ranks 4th in the world in terms of banana consumption per person per year, and banana imports to Russia are forecast to continue to grow in the coming years. This was reported by Clinton Machado, head of Maersk’s Banana and Pineapple Shipping Division, at the 17th International Banana Convention.

Latin America remains the main banana exporter. The combined share of all supplies from Latin American countries is 73% of all exports. Most of the bananas grown in Latin America are exported to the United States and Europe.

“In 2019, global banana exports reached 20 million tons, up 5% compared to 2018. The Philippines and Ecuador remain the largest banana exporters in the world,” said Clinton Machado.

The main importing countries of Philippine bananas are China and Japan, but exports to these countries decreased slightly in 2019 due to the opening of trade between China and Cambodia. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of Cambodia, the export of bananas to China during the first five months of 2020 amounted to 121 thousand tons, and by 2021 the country plans to double the volume shipped.

“According to the forecasts of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the world’s banana production will increase to 126 million tons by 2029,” Clinton Machado added.

India is the world’s largest banana producer, but most Indian bananas are intended for the domestic market. According to Clinton Machado, government investment in the industry has allowed Indian producers to export more of their products, and if this initiative is successful, India will be able to supply bananas to the Middle East and Mediterranean regions.