The Italian apple market is under pressure from the boycott. The biggest problem is not the closed border, but Polish apples flooding the market. Polish growers took to the streets and blocked some main roads in the country. Growers are demanding better compensations. Polish workers in Brussels handed out Polish fruit to their colleagues with the goal of improving its image in Europe. Greek companies travelled to the Gulf States to successfully close some contracts. Greek fruit will soon become available at Saudi Arabian supermarkets. In Russia, the boycott is also affecting confectionary manufacturers. A manufacturer says hazelnuts have become much more expensive and warns that the range could have to be adjusted. In Dagestan, the Government is not worried; according to its own figures, this year 1.26 million tonnes of vegetables were harvested. On-line retailers in Russia saw an increase in fruit and vegetables turnover. Crimea growers contend with great difficulties: water shortages, expensive seeds and fertilisers, and only a local market. A large part of the growers are filing for bankruptcy.

Greeks to the Gulf
Greek companies visited the Gulf States to close contracts with supermarkets, thus hoping to minimise the effects of the boycott. A delegation of 26 companies travelled to the Gulf and visited various places, including Foodex Saudi. These Greek companies are based in northern Greece, where 90% of the country’s fruit production takes place. According to both parties, Greek fruit will soon become available on supermarket shelves in Saudi Arabia.

Italian apple market under pressure
The Italian apple market is under pressure from the boycott and the current oversupply. "The problem is not directly caused by the fact that we cannot export to Russia," says Roberto Piazza, of Fedagromercati-ACMO Bologna, "but because of the large volumes of Polish apples that are flooding the market." Polish apples are of lower quality and therefore cheaper. "This has consequences for the rest. In Germany and the Netherlands apples are sold for 30 cents per kilo!" Additionally, the high temperatures inhibit demand. "On average, prices are 20-30% lower than last year."

Polish apples for EU
Polish employees at EU institutions have handed out half a tonne of apples. The action has taken place as part of the campaign ‘Eat ApPLes’ and aims to promote the quality of Polish apples and thereby increase their sales. Additionally, Poland wants to improve its image as food producer and show that the country can handle an unexpected surplus. The action has been organised by the Polish Ministry of Agriculture, the Agricultural Market Agency and the MEP Czeslaw Siekierski (PSL). The apples were supplied by a grower in Błędowa, in the Mazowieckie province.

Polish growers take the streets
Angry grower blocked roads 74 (Kielce Kraśnik) and 12 (ZAP Zvolen). The protesters want the government to tackle the situation caused by the fruit surpluses. To this end, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of apples would have to be withdrawn from the market and compensations paid to cover production costs. According to the producers, EU compensation have been insufficient. "Taking 30 tonnes per hectare off the market with a yield of 90 tonnes per hectare will not solve the problem," says Tomasz Solis of the Association of Polish Fruit Growers. Apples are sold for between 0.35 and 0.45 zloty (1 zloty = 0.24), while production costs lie between 0.80 and 1 zloty. Earlier this month, demonstrations took place in Warsaw and on the highway to Annopol.

Smaller range of sweets due to boycott
According to Russian specialists of the sweet manufacturer Babayevsky the boycott has also affected the production of confectionery. The manufacturer saw the price of sugar, cocoa and nuts rising sharply in recent months. Between January and September, hazelnuts have become 28% more expensive than in the same period of 2013.

No price increases around the turn of the year

The Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, Arkady Dvorkovich, hinted that the government is prepared to take action to prevent price increases around the turn of the year. Furthermore, the Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that the price of certain products will increase because the Rouble has depreciated and inflation is higher than expected.

Russians shopping more in webshops
Large on-line stores reported an increase in their fruit and vegetable sales. Over the past few years, such sales have been on the rise, according to the Internet hypermarket Utkonos. Fresh products represent 25.6% of the company’s revenue, with vegetables and fruits reaching 8%. Additionally, retailers register a growing interest in processed foods and complex culinary meals. Offering the best quality remains a challenge, because customers cannot choose the products themselves.

Dagestan harvests 1.26 million tonnes of vegetables
According to the latest figures from the Government of the Republic of Dagestan, the volume of vegetables harvested in the region this year will amount to 1.26 million tonnes. The region’s acreage stands at 41,080 hectares, which is 480 more than last year. Dagestan is self-sufficient in vegetables and will also be able to export between 500,000-600,000 tonnes of vegetables to other regions. Greenhouse agriculture in the region has grown steadily in recent years, although the yield still remains a disappointing 15 kilos per square metre. This is something the region aims to improve in the coming years.

Water shortages in Crimea drive growers to bankruptcy
The lack of water in Crimea has led to product shortages, higher prices and big losses for growers around Dzhankoysky. According to the growers, the problems started right after Russia’s annexation. The North Crimean channel was closed, and as a result 70% of the producers had to close their business. Growers are also facing problems with the marketing of their products. About 90% of products were sold in Ukraine, but the annexation has made the marketing more difficult. Exports to Russia are difficult, so growers can only sell their products in Crimea. Furthermore, seeds and fertilisers have become two to three times more expensive. But the main problem remains the lack of water. Agriculture was dependent on the North Crimean channel, but since the annexation the water flow has stopped.

Lower apple sales in Ukraine
Prices on the Ukrainian apple market are dropping. Growers say they have trouble to sell their apples, even at low prices. Apples in the wholesale reach 15-20 cents per kilo, while 27-32 cents are paid for premium quality. Retailers appear to be trying to further reduce prices. Wholesalers complain about the quality of the apples. Hail damage and frost have damaged a portion of the harvest. Growers with good quality products are opting to keep them in storage until the middle of next month.

Lees hier alle artikelen uit Dossier Rusland.