Italy: Maintain a foothold in Russia while waiting for the situation to improve

"It is certain that the Russian ban will last for a year, we must accept it," says Nicola Zanotelli, export manager for the FROM consortium, an organisation created by Melindala TrentinaVOG and VI.P to deal with the Russian market.

Despite the ban, FROM took part in the latest edition of World Food Moscow. "We were very touched by how respectful our clients were. They are only waiting for trade with us to be back on track. In the meantime, as we cannot ship fresh fruit, we are making do with apple juice."

Nicola Zanotelli.

The manager points out that the volumes of Italian apples destined to Russia only represent 3% of the total: "our main markets are Germany and Spain, followed by North Africa, Middle East and Asia. We would need more agreements to further diversify our exports, but it's still early."

As regards varieties, the Russian market appreciates mostly Granny Smith and Golden, provided that they are not too yellow.

"Russia most definitely wants to be more self-sufficient and it's only fair that it tries. On the other hand though, it will be very difficult to replicate the quality we can provide. We are therefore still considering Russia as an interesting market and we can only hope that the ban is lifted very soon."

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