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Gabriel Berard, Bretonskiy Koupets:

"Russian importers are currently under great pressure"

Gabriel Berard is a specialised intermediary between producers or traders and Russian companies. With the firm Bretonskiy Koupets, he acts as A local helpdesk for exporters to Russia. He is currently going through a difficult time because all fruit and vegetable exports from the EU have stopped. “Luckily, I am a very flexible agent and have few costs. Now that EU exports have stopped I focus on overseas suppliers shipping to Russia. I invite these exporters to connect on my platform and I offer also new services, such as market monitoring for traders. Currently, I already offer a weekly market report on tomatoes and citrus and I hope to find more customers for this service to expand in the future.”

The Russian apple-corner in Auchan hypermarket in Moscow last Sunday. (1 Euro = 58 rub)

Less work for importers
According to Gabriel, the situation for Russian fruit and vegetable traders is very hard. “Russian importers are tense because the volumes and margins are under great pressure. The import ban is just one of the many factors that make the situation difficult; there is also a drop in the value of the Rouble, the cancellation of credit lines, the decline in consumer spending and the development of direct imports by discounters. For example, the Russian discounters 'Dixy' and 'Tander' make a lot of imports themselves. The Russian import of fruits and vegetables in September 2014 dropped by 10% in volume compared to September 2013. During the same period, the volumes of fruit and vegetables imported directly by retailers has increased by 7%. This has resulted in traders having a lot less work.”

Russia is not yet self-sufficient, but there is now a stronger focus on local production. Investments are made in Russian orchards and greenhouses and the boycott works as an additional incentive. “The demand for quality local produce is high; in September, Russian imports of tomatoes and apples dropped by 44% and 41% respectively compared to September last year. Russian growers are doing very well. To capitalise on this trend, Bretonskiy Koupets invited the owner of a modern Russian orchard to use my platform.” (see picture below)

Alma Fruits, a modern Russian Orchard

"Everyone notices a paradigm shift in the Russian market. Import margins are smaller and it is very difficult for traditional importers to stay afloat. For Russian traders, the most important long-term effects of this growth are: large-scale changes in integrated logistics, the modernisation of trade, expansion in the region and localisation of supplies. European traders in the future will also have the opportunity to play a role in Russia’s consolidation through modern, high-capacity traders.”

He strongly believes that Russia and Europe will work together again in the future. “When this crisis is over, I hope that European products will find their way back to the shopping basket of Russian consumers.” The ban is supposed to last for one year, but that's not certain. "The ban on EU products was imposed by the Russian Government on 7 August in response to economic sanctions against Russia that were taken by the EU on 31 July. We can reasonably expect that the Russian boycott will be lifted if Europe also puts and end to its own sanctions."

For more information:
Gabriel Jonas BERARD
SAS Bretonskiy Koupets
Phone: +79099168717
Skype: gabrielberard
Email: [email protected]
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