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Maximum 10% imports by 2020

Russia closes borders to Polish re-exports

The Russian government has closed the borders for Polish re-exports. Oranges and dates are specifically mentioned as products that are no longer welcome. The Polish government has asked for clarification. Prime Minister Medvedev has accepted a 'roadmap' for self-sufficiency. According to the plans, the share of imported vegetables should have decreased to around 10% in 2020. It now stands at 14.6%. Since the introduction of the boycott, the Russian import of vegetables and fruit has already dropped by 51% and 11% respectively. Citrus growers in Cyprus will be compensated for the withdrawal of 16,200 tonnes of fruit from the market, mainly mandarins and oranges. Also, Belarus is not happy about Russia's plans to tighten border controls at the Belarusian border.

Azerbaijan signs contracts 
Following reports of Azerbaijani sources over an increase in fruit and vegetable exports, Russia has announced that the sanctions against the West could be positive for Azerbaijan. The country has been supplying large quantities of vegetables, fruit and meat to the Russian market, but the sanctions can lead to an increase in their market share. During a visit of the Mayor of Moscow to Baku a number of contracts have already been signed.

Russia bans re-export Poland 
Russia's borders are now closed for re-exports from Poland. The Russian phytosanitary service no longer accepts fruits and vegetables with a certificate from the Polish Agency. Dates and oranges are specifically mentioned in the report. Poland has requested clarification of this new measure, which will affect exporters. The total losses for the Polish economy due to the boycott are estimated at 837 million Euro, 500 million of which correspond to the fruit and vegetables sector. 

Cyprus compensates citrus growers 
On the European island, citrus growers have been hit hard by the boycott, and most of the compensations will go to this sector. 16,200 tonnes of citrus fruits will be covered by EU aid for their green harvesting, withdrawal or free distribution.

European compensations paid in December 
According to expectations, the European Commission will start paying the compensations in late November, as announced by Dutch Government. Payments will continue throughout January. Under the first compensation regulation, the Netherlands requested a total of around 2.3 million Euro.

Ukraine wants free trade Egypt 
The Ukrainian government has proposed a Free Trade Agreement between Egypt and Ukraine. Exports to the North African country have increased this year. Egypt is open to a deal and wants to set up a list of duty-free products from which both countries can benefit. Fruit and vegetable products from these countries do not compete directly with one another, and thus the governments also expect to reach good deals in this regard. 

Lugansk to set up own supermarket chain
The proclaimed People's Republic of Lugansk, in eastern Ukraine, wants to set up a new supermarket chain to replace the Ukrainian ATB. The new grocery store is the result of collaboration between consumers and store owners and prices should be lower than the market average. The chain also plans to open branches in other parts of the region.

Belarus against stricter controls Customs 
According to the Ministry of Agriculture in Belarus there is no need to introduce stricter customs controls at the borders with Russia. In late September, Russia asked its neighbour for stricter phytosanitary controls. The latest proposal entails that the Russian phytosanitary service will cooperate with its Belarusian counterpart. Although negotiations are still ongoing, the Belarusians say their own service is capable enough to work independently.

Fewer fruit and vegetable imports 
The import value of fruits and vegetables decreased in September compared to a year earlier. The country imported 51.5% fewer vegetables, which corresponds to about 48.7 million dollars. Fruit and nut imports dropped by 11.1%, which represents a loss of 291.8 million dollars. 

Roadmap towards self-sufficiency 
Premier Medvedev has accepted a programme with the goal of self-sufficiency. The programme is known as the "Roadmap" and has set a number of goals to develop the domestic agricultural sector. Additionally, Russia wants to set up an information system to ensure food security. For 2020, the domestic production should have significantly increased, leading to a drop in the share of imported vegetables to about 10%; a percentage which now still stands at 14.6%. The programme also focuses on regulations concerning imports and phytosanitary controls.

Standard & Poor's predicts sharp price increases 
Sharp price increases are expected in the coming months, especially during the winter, predicts Standard & Poor's. According to the organisation, Russian companies need time to sign contracts with new suppliers. Since the introduction of the boycott, prices have been increasing in Russia. Boycotted products represent two-thirds of the food in Russia, which corresponds to 19% of total consumer spending.

The high inflation in Russia is partly due to the shortage of dollars in the Russian market. Companies that want to repay loans are facing difficulties to get dollars. The Central Bank recently introduced more dollars into the market by selling a portion of the capital reserves, but that is insufficient. Low oil prices also play a part in these problems. 

European technology welcome in Russia 
In central Russia, the Perm region supports the local agricultural sector by looking for new sales channels, such as open markets where local products are sold. The government wants these fairs and mini-markets to be organised not only in season, but all year round. In order to learn new agricultural techniques, a delegation from the region has been sent to Slovakia and invited Italian specialists to share their knowledge with the domestic sector.

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