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Import quotas vegetables long-term solution

Russia destroys 19 tonnes of apples from unknown origin

Russia destroyed 19 tonnes of apples with an unknown country of origin. The products were supposedly imported from Morocco, but Moroccan authorities were unable to confirm the issuing of the certificates. Belarus says it isn't a transit hub for boycotted products. The Minister of Foreign Affairs supports his point of view with export figures. An import quota for greenhouse vegetables would be a good measure in the long run, Natalia Rogova of a Russian greenhouse growers' association claimed. China is the biggest supplier of onions and garlic to Russia.


Russia destroys 19 tonnes of apples from unknown origin
When, during a routine inspection, the phytosanitary service in St. Petersburg found a shipment of apples with dubious documents, all alarms went off. The 19 tonnes of apples were stored in a cold store in the city. According to the accompanying documents and the labels on the boxes, the country of origin was Morocco. The complicated logistical route travelled by the apples, and the unusual country of origin, caused inspectors to be on the alert. That's why the inspection decided to involve the national phytosanitary authorities with the investigation. An inquiry showed that the certificate hadn't been issued by the Moroccan authorities, which is why the country of origin couldn't be determined. The 19 tonnes of apples of unknown origin were destroyed.

Belarus no transit hub for smuggling
According to the Belarusian minister of Foreign Affairs, various accusations have been made directed at Belarus, about the country allowing smuggling to Russia. In Russian media, the minister struck back: "If we would transport banned products through Belarus, the trade balance between Russia and Belarus would be going up significantly. The opposite is true. Between January and August of this year, revenue is at 18.2 billion dollars, nearly thirty percent less than in the same period in 2014." The minister did acknowledge that illegal export takes place, but the investigative services in both countries are working together to deal with the perpetrators.

Import quotas long-term solutions
According to the director of the Russian association for greenhouse growers, Natalia Rogova, Russia will impose a quota on the import of vegetables in the long run. The measure is to protect the domestic growers. A condition for the effectiveness of the quotas is that domestic production can provide half of the demand. The Russian market for greenhouse vegetables is 2 million tonnes, at the moment 778,000 tonnes are harvested annually. To be able to service half the market with domestic produce, Natalia says, 2,000 hectares extra are needed. That would bring the total acreage to 4,000 hectares.

China biggest supplier onions and garlic
Russia imported 419,460 tonnes of garlic and onions in 2014. That was 38.7 percent more than in 2013, Russian figures show. The biggest supplier of onions and garlic is China, accounting for 129,980 tonnes, with a value of 100,220 dollars. Second in the list is the Netherlands, with a volume of 105,500 tonnes and a value of 57,490 tonnes. For the first five months of this year, the import was 216,600 tonnes, with a value of 117,130 dollars.

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