From September 11 to 14 Moscow was the location for the annual World Food Moscow. VLAM was present once again with a great stall, together with 6 export companies and BelOrta auction. Despite the closed Russian borders this fair remains important to our participants. There are a lot of visitors present from all over. At World Food Moscow 1,516 companies from 62 countries presented their services and products to the 29,331 visitors. Countries from all corners were present, with countries such as Peru, Argentina, Azerbaijan and China strongly represented.

Six export companies were present at the VLAM stall: Calsa/Weiss, Bel'Export, Vergro, Wouters Fruithandel, DSF and D&G Fruit Business. BelOrta also took the opportunity to maintain international customer relationships.

VLAM's participation is in the framework of the European programme with the slogan 'Premium quality, perfect taste'. VLAM emphasises the high quality of Belgian products through striking product photos, campaign images and videos.

About the neighbouring countries
Whilst the Belgian export to Russia didn't stop immediately after the boycott was put in place in 2014, we have been seeing a strong drop in volumes since 2015. Our export to the countries neighbouring Russia had their dynamics changed. We noticed a strong rise in export for a number of destinations, for other countries we see a drop parallel to Russia. A few examples:

Poland has always been our main market in this region, both for fresh fruit (86% is re-export of southern fruits) and fresh vegetables, and it has maintained this position since the boycott. Export volumes are even still rising, in which our pear export (12% share) is increasingly most, with the export of leeks also yielding good volumes.

Lithuania and Estonia are the markets that have shown the strongest increases in volume since the Russian boycott. Our pears are the main export product within the category of fresh fruit and are on the rise in both countries.

Fresh vegetables are also doing very well in both countries, across a wide range of products, with tomatoes as an outlier.

Our export to Lithuania had an exceptional year in 2015 with hugely increased export volume for fresh vegetables and fruit. These volumes dropped in 2016 but more product still goes here than before the boycott. Pears and tomatoes are the main products in the assortment here too.
Kazakhstan is a good sales market for Belgium in fruit and more directly for pears, which have seen their export rise gradually each years. We do see a slight decline for 2016 and the first 7 months of 2017.

There is a less fantastic export evolution (at the moment) to report for the other countries surrounding Russia. The export of fruit and vegetables to Belarus, Georgia and Azerbaijan has dropped strongly since the boycott. Finland has also seen persistent drops in volume, especially in the category of fresh fruit. There has been no export to Ukraine at all since 2015 - the volume was already very limited. Finally, the export to Mongolia has stopped since 2015 but we see here that the export of apples and pears was pulling up slightly in 2017.