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 Allows the Export of Products from Several Azerbaijani Enterprises

The Azerbaijani Food Safety Agency and a number of relevant structures are taking the necessary measures to remove restrictions on the export of certain products to Russia. The export of apples and tomatoes from Azerbaijan to Russia was widely discussed during several meetings.

As a result of discussions between the delegations of the Food Safety Agency and the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision of the Russian Federation., the export of tomatoes from Agroterm LLC (Khizi district), Geothermal Agro LLC (Kurdemir district), Gp Alfa greenhouse LLC (Salyan district), Hajigabul greenhouse LLC (Hajigabul district), and the enterprises belonging to Ilkin Shukurov (Masalli district) was allowed.

The export of apples from “TURAZ” LLC (Shabran district), Ran Fruit LLC, and an enterprise belonging to Vahid Asadov was also allowed. The relevant structure issued the export permits on the basis of the files submitted by the Agency on strengthening phytosanitary control, as well as on the results of relevant monitoring.


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.


Russia is a World Leader in Mandarin Imports, Despite a Drop in Volume

Russia continues to be the world leader in terms of importing mandarins and their analogs (clementines, tangerines, satsuma, etc.) by a wide margin, despite the decline in volumes and imports observed in recent years.

In 2019, Russia imported 713,200 mt of mandarins, significantly less than in 2014 when the country imported 847,000 mt of these citrus fruits. However, the second place in the world ranking belongs to Germany, having imported more than two times less than Russia, namely, 346,000 mt of mandarins. Other leaders in terms of import volumes are France, the United States, Great Britain, and Ukraine.

Besides, unlike Russia, Ukraine continues to increase its imports of mandarins. In 2014, Ukraine imported 158,000 mt of mandarins and a record volume in 2019 of 180,300 mt.

Partially, this decline in imports of mandarins to Russia is explained by the so-called “anti-sanctions”: Russia cannot purchase fruits in the EU countries because of the ban. At the same time, Ukraine continues to buy large volumes of mandarins from the southern countries of the European Union, such as Spain, Greece, and Italy. Russia, in addition to Turkey, buys mandarins from Pakistan, China, Morocco, and Georgia, which significantly narrows the possibilities of importing premium quality fruits. Therefore, traditionally, Belarus is engaged in re-exporting citrus fruits from the sanctioned regions to Russia.

It is interesting to note that in the first ten months of 2020, Russia dramatically increased its imports of mandarins. Morocco provided the main increase in supplies: in 2020, deliveries of mandarins from Morocco to Russia increased by 59%. Pakistan and Turkey also increased their export volumes. Mandarins’ supplies to Ukraine also increased in 2020, but the growth rates of imports were lower than in Russia.


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.


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.


USDA Russia: Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual Report

Apples are one of the most popular and affordable fruits in Russia and with domestic production forecast to decline, imports will rebound in the 2020/2021 MY. Many commercial pear growers are replanting their orchards to apples to take advantage of this growing demand. Russia is the second-largest importer of pears and a major importer of table grapes as local production for these two fresh fruits is insufficient to meet demand. However, imports of pears and table grapes are expected to decline as the economic crisis continues and consumer purchasing power declines.

Since 2014, Russia’s countersanctions have banned fresh apple imports from Europe and the United States. This coupled with extensive support from the Government of Russia for the care and planting of new orchards has propelled investment in horticulture in recent years. In 2019, the Government of Russia financed a 311 billion Ruble (US$ 4.2 billion) support program for Russian agriculture.

Despite all this, several factors continue to constrain the development of Russia’s horticultural sector. First and foremost, Russia’s horticultural industry still lacks productive plant material. The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that in 2018 Russia produced around 24 million plants (including 15 million seed fruit plants). At the same time, Russia imported 25 million plants in 2018 and 21 million plants during the first six months of 2019. Very few nursery farms cultivate planting material for commercial orchards, and as a result, the quality of the planting material in Russia remains inadequate in terms of yields, winter resistance, and drought and disease tolerance.

As the ruble continues to weaken, Russian horticultural producers continue to face very high costs for importing planting stock, and other related items for cultivation, such as crop protection agents, technology, and equipment. A lack of qualified agronomists is another factor holding back the industry.

The current Russian trend of eating healthy has led to greater fruit consumption. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, more people are paying attention to their health and eating patterns are increasingly favoring natural, healthier foods. According to analysts, the demand for vegetables and fruits increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the consumption of fruit is closely connected with household income and market prices. Russian disposable income has been declining since 2014, although there was some growth in 2018 and 2019, it is expected to drop again. In 2020, the decline in disposable income is forecast at 3 percent, according to the Ministry of Economic Development.

Full USDA report, containing information on the Russian harvest, import and consumption of apples, pear and grapes.

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.