Who's next? Greece?

EU exporters fear further Russian bans

The political battle between EU and Russia has hit the Polish export of fruit and vegetables. So what can we expect next?, is the question being asked by other EU exporters to Russia. “It’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen. A day before the ban on Polish fruit and vegetables was announced, I was sure it wouldn’t happen,” says Irina Koziy from FruitNews.ru, Russian specialized information resource for fresh produce industry.

However there is a hope that there will be a certain agreement between the phyotsanitary departments in Poland and Russia, within the next two months. “The current ban has been enforced in the period when shipments are at their lowest throughout the year," Irinia continues. During August and September there aren’t a lot of shipments for products like apples and cabbages. The big volumes of these items start to move from October. For stonefruit it is the end of the season, 80% of the volume to Russia has been shipped already, so only 20% is affected.

Poland is the biggest supplier of imported apples to Russia. 80% of the apples in Russia are imported and about 50% of that volume comes from Poland. “I don’t see another source to fill that gap. Poland is a large source for low cost apples for Russian consumers,” concludes Irina.

According to a Belgian potato exporter, "The future for European agro export to Russian does not look good." He believes the Russians will ban potato imports soon and if this happens there will be not many options left for European exporters as growing seasons have been good in most countries so there is less need for imports.

"The Russian market is always good for large volumes but so far this season we really don't know where to go."

The ban came as an absolute surprise for Europe. Russia had not warned beforehand about a possible ban, a European Commission official told reporters in Brussels, adding that the Commission would closely look into the causes for Russia’s embargo.

Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said this week it is also considering banning fruit imports from Greece next week due to the repeated supply of fruit contaminated with oriental fruit moths.

“Our experts are currently examining the seriousness of the situation, and assessing the risks. The assessment will be over in a couple of days, at the beginning of next week. After that, there is a possibility of imposing restrictions on Greek fruit imports to Russia,” said Alexei Alexeyenko, Rosselkhoznadzor’s deputy head.

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