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Cabbage harvest Russia partially destroyed by frost

Russia catches smuggler Polish produce

Russian authorities announced having sent back shipments of fresh produce in various locations in the country, because the documents weren’t in order. Bell peppers and eggplants were sent back to Belarus, and pomegranates from Egypt were refused. Most notably, the inspection caught a smuggler. The truck driver passed by the same checkpoint twice in three days, while he still had to drive 3,000 km at the first inspection, according to documents. Meanwhile, prices for fruit and vegetables in the Voronezh region are going up, with tomatoes being 20% more expensive. In the Ulyanovsk region, a large part of the cabbage harvest was lost due to unexpected frost. According to estimates, 1,000 tonnes of cabbage was lost. Poland is in talks with Singapore to get approval for the export of apples. And an Indian company is looking at possibilities to import Moldovan fruit. Romania is lowering VAT on fresh produce, in order to support the sector. The government sees agriculture as an important driving force behind economic growth.

Due to increased competition and interest from several countries, European exporters will have a harder time to get back their market share after the boycott, Italian expert in international trade Dario Rivolta writes in an article.

Russia catches Polish smuggler
The Russian phytosanitary service revealed a smuggling method for European products to Russia, with the smuggler getting caught. On October 24, a truck with 20 tonnes of Polish apples, tomatoes and cauliflower reported to the phytosanitary service in Pskov, Western Russia. The papers were in order, the products were said to be on their way from Belarus to Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan. The Kazakh city is located roughly 3,000 km from the checkpoint. Three days later, on October 27, the same truck showed up again at the phytosanitary service in Pskov, again with a shipment of Polish produce destined for Kazakhstan. The Russians concluded that it’s impossible for the truck to have driven to and from Kazakhstan in the days between, so the first shipment was thought to have been unloaded in Russia. The shipment was confiscated, and an investigation started into these practices.

Bell pepper and eggplant sent back
The Russian phytosanitary services in Tver and Pskov sent back a shipment of bell peppers and eggplants from Belarus. The 13.1 tonnes didn’t pass the checkpoint, according to the inspection traces of replaced labels were found on the products. The products were sent back to Belarus.

Egyptian pomegranates also refused
In the Russian port city of Novorossiysk, on the Black Sea, the phytosanitary service stopped 40 tonnes of pomegranates from Egypt. The documents accompanying the shipment were altered and corrected according to the inspection, which isn’t allowed. As a consequence, the pomegranates couldn’t be imported.

Russia tightens inspection
Belarusian exporters are being checked more closely for violations of phytosanitary demands with export to Russia. The heightened inspection applies to animal and vegetable products, including fresh produce. The reason is the increased export from Belarus. According to the inspection, exporters violating the rules can be caught red-handed with re-export. Belarusian authorities also announced tighter inspections.

Prices still rising
In the Western Russian region of Voronezh, the statistics bureau publicized the price developments in the October 20-27 period. Greenhouse vegetables became significantly more expensive, tomato prices increased by 20.6%, cucumbers got 4% more expensive. The average price for tomatoes is 81.18 roubles (1.53 Euro), cucumbers sell for 71.4 roubles (1.35 Euro). Potatoes, carrots and onions also became more expensive. Prices for these products went up by 5%, 2.6% and 1% respectively. Only apples prices went down by 3.5%.

Harvest destroyed by frost
Due to extremely low temperatures, the cabbage harvest in the Ulyanovsk region, east of Moscow, has failed. Between October 23 and 27, the temperature was 7 degrees lower than normal. Growers weren’t prepared for this temperature drop, causing damage to the harvest. Due to the frost, part of the harvest has been lost. According to initial reports, there was around 1,000 tonnes of cabbage out on the field, amounting to a loss of 10 million roubles (196,000 Euro). For now, no price increase for cabbage is expected.

Poland in talks with Singapore
The Polish ambassador met with importers of the SFVA, the association for importers and exporters in Singapore, to discuss import of Polish apples in this Asian market. Results of the discussion are still unknown.

India looking to Moldovan fruit
Indian company Baboobhai Patel is interested in Moldovan apples, plums, peaches and wine. The Indian company works together with several former Soviet republics, and is now showing interest in Moldovan products. The Indian company is exploring possible partnerships, and discussing requirements and regulations. For Moldova, market differentiation is important. The country was hit hard by the boycott.

Romania lowers VAT on fresh produce
The Romanian government announced a reduction of VAT on fruit and vegetables next year. This way, the government wants to support the sector. Agriculture is a driving force of economic growth for the country, with production increasing this year, just like last year. A lower VAT rate on bread was successful, which is why fresh produce and meat are now following. The government is also looking to increase consumption through promotional campaigns.

Consumer behaviour changing
Retail chain O’Key Group announced its third quarter results. Revenue increased by 7.2%, and gross profit was 13.8% higher. Over the first nine months of this year, turnover increased by 10.6%. Because of the boycott, consumer behaviour has changed. According to O’Key, consumers are spending less than before. By the way, the supermarket also has few products on offer due to the boycott, which could partially explain decreasing sales.

Iran wants more export to Ural
An Iranian delegation visited Sverdlovsk, in the Ural. During the visit, the Iranians reported wanting to increase export to the region twentyfold. The Iranian delegation, from the Hamadan region, reports wanting to supply nuts, melons and fruit and vegetables to the Ural, with a total volume of 5 million tonnes a year.

Georgian export increased significantly
The past two years, export from Georgia to Russia increased sixfold, the Georgian prime minister says. The total export increased over these years by 24%, export to Europe went up by 70%. According to Georgia, Russia is a promising market, and Europe will follow. Export of vegetables went up by 53% in 2012, export of fruit by 91%. The Russian border was closed for years, but since 2013 export to Russia is possible again. After imposing the sanctions against the West, trade relations between Georgia and Russia have improved.

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