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European suppliers maintain presence at World Food Moscow

Despite the restrictions imposed on European goods by the Russian government, there was a healthy European presence at the recent World Food Moscow. Though it's uncertain when the current situation between Russia and the European Union will be resolved, European fresh produce suppliers want to maintain their relationships in Russia for when the situation improves.

“There were quite a lot of Europeans attending,” noted Irina Koziy, general director of «FruitNews» News Agency in Russia. Koziy attended the event and noted that although the attendees were more nervous than usual, given the current political climate and embargo on food products, European participants made a strong impression.

“For me, personally, their attendance left a very good impression,” said Koziy. “Because even though they're not able to send their products to Russia, it shows they're serious about this market.” That European suppliers are willing to make an effort to maintain the relationships they have in Russia is a testament to the importance the Russian market has for European shippers. But the relationship is a reciprocal one, and many Russian buyers are also eager for a resolution to the current situation.

“Some Russian companies have been able to find new partners and change their sources,” noted Koziy. “For other companies, it's a big challenge if they focused on products that came from the European Union.” Programs that could be used to wean Russians off foreign imports may pay off in the long run, but they currently aren't much help because it takes more than just one season for local producers to make up for the deficit brought on by the European ban.

“You can't plant an orchard to have a peach harvest in less than one year,” explained Koziy. “So we just have to survive with the changes that have happened and hope that those changes will be played back in the next few months for the good of the Russian market and Russian customers.” It's hard to tell the full impact that the ban on European goods has had on supplies of food or prices because the fresh produce market is always in flux. For consumers, who often deal with price fluctuations and changing inventories, current market conditions could be just a more pronounced version of a typical year. But the effects are there, and even if consumers can't quantify them exactly, they see fewer options and higher prices. That the effects are apparent to everyone in the country, however, doesn't guarantee that the cause of those effects – the ban on European goods – will be lifted any time soon.

“We know a lot of people are complaining about the current prices and even the Russian government has recognized that prices went up because of restrictions implemented on food products,” said Koziy. “But we are not in Europe, so the Russian government is not going to change its decisions immediately just because prices went up. So I really don't know what the Russian government is planning.”
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