The Russian economy is going through tough times; inflation increased to 8.3% last month, and the rouble has already lost 26% of its worth compared to the dollar. Media are reporting there are no big consequences for consumers. The banana import is being slowed down due to the lower value of the rouble, with the yellow fruit getting relatively expensive. In a supermarket, Polish apples were found that were reportedly imported through China. At another retailer, the inspection found Serbian and Macedonian apples, labelled as Italian produce. Pakistan wants to gain a larger market share in Russia. The exporters expect a lot in particular of the mandarin export. And Poland is reserving a maximum of 15,000 additional Euro in support for farmers. Because the amounts are small, Poland is able to give something extra to farmers without EU interference.

Inflation goes up, rouble value decreases
The Russian statistics bureau published new figures on the Russian economy. In October, inflation increased further to 8.3%. Inflation is thus a lot higher than the 6.5% ceiling set by the Central Bank. The rouble is also under significant pressure. This year, the currency already lost 26% of its value compared to the dollar, with the sanctions and the low dollar prices plaguing the Russian economy. Consumers felt the consequences in their wallet; tomato prices went up by 30%, and cucumbers got 40% more expensive in October. Prices for other foods also went up. Russian media are reporting different figures, speaking of increasing sales at supermarkets, and consumer spending going up by 2.3%. A majority of Russians is said to have not yet adapted their spending pattern to the situation.

For companies, the consequences vary. In the energy sector there are winners and losers, companies with large reserves in foreign currencies profit from the situation. Companies in the steel industry are also profiting. Banks are seeing that account holders prefer to keep their capital in cash, or are converting it to foreign currencies. Telephone companies and the automobile industry suffer from the consequences of the weak rouble. On the other hand, supermarkets see their revenue go up because of the higher prices. Hypermarkets do have problems, because they can’t switch to other suppliers as easily, in order to keep the shelves stocked.

Moldovan grapes and apples to United Kingdom
Moldova is in talks with Britain, to gain entry to their market. The British ambassador visited the director of the National Agency for Food Safety (ANSA), last month the ANSA visited London. Moldova wants to export apples and grapes to the United Kingdom. The ANSA points out the efforts being made to meet all requirement, with the British pledging their support to implement the rules.

Poland gives farmers helping hand

Onion, cabbage, and apple growers in Poland are getting support for the lower sales prices caused by the Russian boycott. At the request of the Ministry of Agriculture, the council of ministers agreed with extra support for growers suffering losses because of the closed Russian border. The support has been designed in such a way that the European Commission does not need to give approval. Onion and cabbage farmers can claim 450 zł (106.42 Euro) per hectare, with apple growers getting 800 zł (189.09 Euro) per hectare. Growers will receive a maximum of 15,000 Euro in support.

Supermarket inspections tightened
The Russian republics of Perm and Udmurtia, in Central Russia, announced a partnership to address illegal import of banned products. Recently, Polish apples and French cheese were found in the Lenta supermarket in Izhevsk. According to the documents, the apples had entered the country through China, while the French cheese was said to have been in storage all this time. In response to this discovery, other Lenta stores were also inspected, but no violations were found. Apples that were labelled as Italian, turned out to have come from Serbia and Macedonia upon inspection. The supermarkets will be inspected more often.

Russia imports fewer bananas
According to Fruit-Inform statistics, Russian banana import has decreased in September. The volume amounted to 89,000 tonnes, 10% less than last year. Almost all bananas, 96%, were imported from Ecuador. Analysts say the bad position of the rouble is to blame for the decreasing import. Because of that, banana prices have increased sharply. Depending on the region, the sales price is between 40-50 roubles (0.91-1.14 dollars) per kilo. That’s 25% more than in the same period a year before. The Russian consumer has a preference for domestic fruit, which is cheaper. Apples, for instance, are 15% cheaper than last year.

Russian apple growers say they can’t increase prices, because the sellers are not prepared to pay more than 25 roubles (0.63 dollars) per kilo. According to the growers, this is partly caused by import from Belarus, Serbia and China. Re-export from Europe is also said to put prices under pressure. European apples are reportedly entering the Russian market through Belarus. For most Russian growers, the season runs until December, after which the country will completely depend on apple import.

Pear import Russia also decreasing
In September, pear import went down by a third compared to last year. The volume was 14,000 tonnes, while it was 21,000 tonnes a year before. China is the main supplier of pears, with a market share of almost 25%. Argentina and Turkey are second and third with a share of 14% and 11% respectively. In 2013, the EU had the biggest market share, at 76%. The cumulative import from July until September amounts to 42,000 tonnes, a decrease of 13% compared to the same period in 2013.

Pakistan sees opportunities in Russia
Pakistani exporters see opportunities in Russia. Pakistan’s main export products are mandarins and potatoes. The country wants to gain a market share of 5-10%. The exporters expect the mandarin export to increase by 15-20%. The exporters’ export target is 300,000 tonnes of mandarins, on a potential harvest of 2 million tonnes. The export season starts in December.

Iran exports 40% of the orange harvest
The Ministry of Agriculture in Iran announced that the country is looking to export 800,000 tonnes of citrus. The country is said to be self-sufficient when it comes to oranges. According to the ministry, the country has the potential to grow 2 million tonnes of oranges annually.

New greenhouse in Kostroma as well
In the Kostroma region, northeast of Moscow, a new greenhouse is being built for the year-round cultivation of vegetables. The project’s costs are estimated at 40 million roubles (770,000 Euro). The project is carried out by the Zeleny Dom company. A storage facility is to open its doors this year, in the same region.