Time and again, reports on agriculture investments in Russia talk about the lack of storage facilities to get through the winter months. Where a lot of money is invested in new cultivation projects on the one hand, storage is a particular problem. Regions that can, in principle, be self-sufficient, are forced to import during the winter months, due to insufficient storage capacity. In Rostov and Stavropol, significant investments are being made to resolve this. This year, Tajikistan, a country that wanted to increase export, exported 20% less than last year. Trade between Pakistan and Russia is overshadowed by a twenty-year-old conflict over 76 million dollars. And Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are showing up in statistics on Russia’s fresh produce import. On the European side, Moldova and Poland are looking for new export destinations. According to experts, Moldova has multiple options. Poland is more advanced in negotiations, looking at the UAE and the rest of the Middle East in the short term. For the long term, Poland is looking to make agreements with India and China.

Alternative markets for Moldova
Experts presented a list of potential new markets for Moldova. For grapes, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and Poland are being named. The share in global grape import for these countries is between 2% (Poland) and 13.7% (US). At the moment, only Poland imports Moldovan grapes, with a market share of 0.3% in the total Moldovan export.

Germany, Kazakhstan, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Poland could be markets for stonefruit. The shares of these countries in the global trade vary from 2% (Poland) to 14.1% (Germany). At the moment, only Kazakhstan is a stonefruit importer, with a share of 0.1% in Moldovan export.

For apples, pears and quince, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, the US and the United Kingdom are named as alternative markets. These countries have between 2.1% (UAE) and 8.2% (Germany) of worldwide trade. At the moment, Moldova is only exporting to the UAE and the United Kingdom, good for 0.1% of export.

Poland looking at UAE and China for apple export
Polish apple growers are looking across the border for new export destinations for apples. India and China were mentioned before, but without the necessary agreements, these markets are still out of reach. So the Poles see these markets mainly as a long-term project. The industry’s focus is mostly on the United Arab Emirates. In November, campaigns will be launched in the UAE and China to promote European apples. The UAE will serve as a stepping stone to the rest of the Middle East. Trade agreements with China and India are still being worked on.

Export Tajikistan -20%

Between January and September, Tajikistan’s fresh produce export went down by 20%. The total volume amounts to 142,000 MT, 36,000 MT less than last year. Tajikistan is one of the countries that indicated a desire to significantly increase export to Russia. The most important export products are onions (75,000 MT) and dried fruit (60,000 MT). The volume of dried fruit is almost equal to last year, but the onion export is almost 25,000 MT lower. Kazakhstan is the most important trading partner, good for 120,000 MT. Other destinations are Turkmenistan (2100 MT), Afghanistan (2000 MT) and Iraq (1900 MT). Russia’s share amounts to 1300 MT, good for 574,000 dollars.

Storage capacity biggest obstacle self-sufficiency
According to the governor of the Rostov region, the share of imported fruit and vegetables on the local market is 10-15%. The region annually harvest a volume of 360-400,000 tonnes of potatoes, and is thus able to almost fully meet demand, which is between 410-420,000 tonnes. Most potatoes that are grown in the region are summer varieties, due to a lack of storage capacity, the region depends on import during the winter months. For vegetables, the biggest challenge is also insufficient storage capacity to get through the winter months. Rostov has around 30 ha of greenhouses, good for 14-15,000 tonnes of vegetables per year. That is not enough to bridge the winter months. Over the coming three years, greenhouse construction projects will have to increase the annual yield by 80,000 tonnes of vegetables, in order to meet demand in winter as well.

Stavropol invests 1.2 billion in agricultural industry
The governor of the Russian Stavropol region has signed five agreements regarding investment projects in the regional agricultural industry. 60 billion roubles (1.2 billion Euro) is involved in the projects. The national government is also looking at Stavropol; when it comes to self-sufficiency, this region is to make a major contribution. The money is invested in projects in the production of greenhouse vegetables and fertilizers, and the improvement of storage facilities for agricultural products.

Iran and UAE export
On the Kaliningrad border, the Russian phytosanitary service is seeing an increase of import from countries that are not banned. Import increased by 20% to 62,000 MT fresh produce and grains. The number of exporting countries has increased from 14 to 19. Apart from traditional suppliers such as Belarus, Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey, the number of new exporters, such as Iran and the United Arab Emirates, is also increasing. Russian company Belaya Dacha reports having found new exporters. The company will import fruit and vegetables from Turkey, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

Kaliningrad wants to attract Polish apple growers
Polish apple growers should grow the fruit in the Russian Kaliningrad region, according to a plan of the region’s governor. Polish companies should open an office in the region, in order to be able to do business with the Russians. Talking about apples specifically, the governor said: “why not come here and grow your Polish apples with us.” The invitation was later toned down a bit.

Export Pakistan limited due to disagreement 76 million
Pakistan is eager to increase export of fruit and vegetables to Russia, but a number of traders are blocking this because of a conflict over 76 million dollars. The traders claim that the Russians still have to pay this amount. The conflict has been running for twenty years, disturbing the relation between the countries. Russian investments in the Pakistani energy sector are reportedly being withheld.

Moroccan citrus export begins

Despite doubt on payments, which caused the Moroccan government to limit the quotas for citrus export to Russia, the export season is now starting. New mechanisms will have to ensure quality and create a high standard. The Russian citrus market is still growing. According to USDA figures, Russia imports 16% of citrus globally, and is the biggest importer of developing/transitioning countries. This year, Turkey, Morocco and Egypt are competing on the Russian market in order to gain the largest market share.