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Gap Russian import partly plugged

India flooded with American apples

The first statistics over the months following the boycott show that Russia was not able to completely compensate for the lost European and American products. A number of countries have profited from the boycott, but volume-wise, trade lags behind.

The Indian wholesale market at Mumbai is flooded with European and American produce that was intended for the Russian market. Special sales teams are active on the markets to sell the Western products.

The European Agriculture ministers have called on the European Commission not to decrease the budgets. On the Russian side of the conflict, there are still plans for investments in cultivation, distribution and storage. In addition, Georgia is allowed to export more products, and Albania is suspected of smuggling European produce.

Gap Russian import partly plugged
Preliminary import figures from Russia in the months following the boycott show that Russia has partly succeeded in finding replacement products, a study by Fruit & Vegetable Facts shows. China, Ukraine and Argentina in particular, saw their export to Russia increase. Other countries that appear to have profited are Turkey, South Africa, Serbia, Israel and Armenia. There have been noticeable shifts at a product level. For instance, fewer apples, tomatoes, peaches and nectarines were imported, but the import of grapes, oranges, soft citrus and lemons went up. 

Limited impact sanctions on Dutch export
According to credit insurance company Euler Hermes, export in the Dutch food sector went up by 4% this year. Although Dutch export is increasing, the margins are under pressure. The Netherlands represents 7.5% of global export from the agricultural sector and food sector. 70% of that is traded within the EU, 30% outside the EU. According to the credit insurer, the effect of the boycott on Dutch export as a whole, is limited.

India flooded with American apples
There is discontent in India at the wholesale market in Vashi, near Mumbai. A number of traders have hired special sales teams to sell European and American produce. Following the boycott, the supply of products banned by Russia has increased in India. The volume of apples from Washington has gone up in particular. Traders are expecting 30-40% more supply in the near future.

European ministers in favour of extending intervention
At a meeting of European Agriculture ministers, 21 ministers called on the European Commission not to decrease agricultural budgets, but to increase the emergency budget instead. The Commission wants to lower the budget of the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF), but the ministers disagree.

Russia suspects Albania of smuggling
The Russian phytosanitary service suspects Albania of smuggling European produce across the border. The service is particularly suspicious of the large increase of apricot, sour cherries and peach export volumes. In addition, documents are said to be forged at producers. Russia has asked Albania for clarification on the volumes grown in the country. Albania has been given a week to respond.

50,000 tonnes seedlings for Russia
Seedlings are not on the list of banned products. The Russians expect to need 53,000 tonnes of seedlings in the coming season. Of the total volume of cultivated potatoes, 90% of the seedlings come from abroad. The Netherlands is a particularly big supplier, but Germany, Finland and the United Kingdom also export large volumes. The 53,000 is more than twice the amount of the volume in the past years. The import is expected to be marked by checks and inspections.

Russians lean towards discounters
More and more Russians do their grocery shopping at the cheap supermarkets, at Magnit, for instance. Because of the quickly increasing consumer prices, more and more Russians are forced to shop at the cheaper stores. The combination of the closed borders for European products, and high inflation are the culprits.

Big plans for Caucasus
According to reports in the Russian media, a group of companies has been formed in the North Caucasus region, which is to supervise investments for food independence. In the Stavropol region, 60 large projects are already under way. The entire northern Caucasus supply 14 percent, or 1.5 million tonnes, of vegetables, according to statistics. During a visit by prime minister Medvedev to the region, he praised the region's potential. According to the prime minister, in 2020, 50,000 additional hectares have to be planted, half of which for fruit cultivation, the other half for vineyards.

Georgia allowed to export more
The Russian phytosanitary service has expanded the list of allowed import products from Georgia. Because of this, more dried fruit and soft fruit can be imported. The service lifted restrictions following a request from a number of large Russian importers.

More Golden Delicious in Ukraine
For the fifth year in a row, Ukrainian growers have harvested more Golden Delicious. According to figures, the volume amounts to 234,000 apples, 10% more than last year and 20% above the five year average. The Golden Delicious is, after the Idared, the most cultivated apple in Ukraine.

Poland targets Bulgaria
Polish farmers are looking for new export markets for apples. The growers appear to have found that in Bulgaria. Polish apples have been exported to the Eastern European country for the last few weeks. Prices vary between 23-26 cents per kilo, Bulgarian apples yield twice as much. Bulgarian growers are worried about the Polish apples, they fear they can't sell their produce any longer.

More Belarusian potatoes for Russia
The Belarusian government announced its desire to export 300,000 tonnes of potatoes to Russia this season. That's five times more than a year before. Prices are 15% higher. The Belorussians expect export to grow after December, due to a shortage of local potatoes on the Russian market. The harvest in Belarus would amount to 1.26 million tonnes this year.

Lenta opens new distribution centres
In Togliatti and Rostov, Lenta is opening two new distribution centres before the end of the year. These new centres will have to support the expansion of the chain following the IPO earlier this year. Lenta currently has four distribution centres in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Novosibirsk. Late last year, Lenta opened the last two centres. The company is investing in logistics, and has expansion plans for Central Russia. The chain is also looking to open hypermarkets and discounters.

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