The National Union of Russian Fruit and Vegetable Producers has launched an initiative to develop measures to protect the market against unfair competition from foreign producers.
According to the Infotag agency, citing the Union's website, these measures include "the gradual introduction of seasonal quotas on the import of certain types of products (such as apples) and the rise of import duties."
According to the chairman of the organization, Anatolii Kutzenko, the introduction of quotas "will reduce the excessive seasonal import of apples, because during the period with domestic production (September-March), the respective market shares of Russian apples and import apples stood at 60-40%."
"We have to use the tariff quota mechanism and import apples to Russia on the basis of supply and demand forecasts for the domestic production. This will reduce the excessive seasonal supply of imported fruits and facilitate the replacement of imports," he said.
According to the Union, under ideal conditions, the domestic apple production may be able to replace imports by 2023.
"For an optimal functioning of the apple market, it is necessary to reduce imports by 130-150 thousand tons per year. This will give us the opportunity to set the market price and allow fruit growers to recover their expenses," said Kutsenko.
These plans will affect Moldova, as the Russian market is currently the most important destination for Moldovan apples. In 2018, over 600 thousand tons were harvested and exports amounted to about 250 thousand tons, which went mostly to the Russian Federation.
At the beginning of March, there were about 100 thousand tons of Moldovan apples in cold storage.
According to Kuzenko's data, in 2018, the Russian Federation imported about 850 thousand tons of apples, 130 thousand tons more than in the previous year.
Apple imports from Moldova amounted to 246 thousand tons. Compared to 2015, the Republic of Moldova has achieved an almost five-fold increase in its apple deliveries to Russia.