The Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation has issued a statement linking the rise in the retail prices of vegetables in April with the exhaustion of last year's stocks and an increase in the cost of imports.
“The current price increase is primarily a consequence of the exhaustion of last year’s stocks and an increase in the cost of supplies of imported products due to currency fluctuations. Measures to stabilize prices will be promoted at the ECE level, including zeroing of import customs duties and banning exports until the end of the season," says the statement.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, in the period from March 31 to April 30, agricultural producers increased potato prices by 16.7%, to 13 rubles / kg; carrots became 12.8% more expensive, reaching up to 15.25 rubles / kg; white cabbage went up by 10.9%, to 15.05 rubles / kg; apples rose by 4.7%, to 45.47 rubles / kg; and onions became 1.7% more expensive, reaching up to 15.17 rubles / kg. At the same time, the prices of carrots, onions and white cabbage fell below those of the same period in 2019 (by 10%, 10.9% and 30.4%, respectively).
On the whole, the Ministry of Agriculture expects a stable situation for open ground vegetables and a growth in their production this year. Potatoes will be cultivated on 1 million 329.1 thousand ha, and the acreage devoted to vegetables is also expected to be higher than last year and amount to 527.2 thousand ha (in 2019, it stood at 517.3 thousand ha). At the moment, discussions regarding the expansion of the acreage devoted to potatoes and vegetables are underway at an official level.
At the same time, as reported by the Ministry of Agriculture, the prices paid for greenhouse vegetables are falling. Over the past month, cucumbers have seen their prices drop by 12.6%, to 66.89 rubles / kg; and tomatoes are down by 17.2%, to 109.32 rubles / kg. According to the Ministry, this is due to the systematic increase in the year-round production of greenhouse vegetables.
In fact, the operational data of the regional agro-industrial complex management bodies shows that, as of May 5, 2020, 401.2 thousand tons of vegetables had been harvested in greenhouses, which is 20.6% higher than in the same period of 2019. This year, the Ministry of Agriculture predicts a record greenhouse vegetable production amounting to at least 1.25 million tons, which is 9.6% more than in 2019.