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Polish apples to Singapore

Rouble reaches new low

Russia has doubts about Switzerland’s export figures. The Alpine country exported a lot more to Russia since the boycott, which causes Russia to suspect banned products are also being exported. And after tightening inspections of transport to Kazakhstan, Russia sent back 360 tonnes of vegetables from Greece and Poland to Belarus, because the products hadn’t passed the necessary checkpoints. South Africa is looking for new routes for export to Russia, the European route is causing problems. Poland exports apples to Singapore. Moldova hopes the borders will re-open with elections having been held in the Eastern European country.

Last Friday, the rouble plummeted again, reaching a new low compared to the Euro and the dollar. According to this morning’s exchange rate, 1 Euro will cost just over 65 roubles, with a dollar costing over 50 roubles. At the start of the year, the exchange rate was 1 Euro to over 45 roubles, and 1 dollar to 33 roubles. The Russian economy is suffering from the decreasing oil price, and the Western sanctions also have a negative influence on the economy. The Russian minister of Finance recently admitted that a recession is unavoidable if the situation deteriorates further.

Switzerland also asked for clarification
It appears to have become a trend. European countries filling up the gap that emerged following the boycott and increasing export to Russia, to be called up after a while to explain the increased export volumes. After several countries in Southeast Europe having recently been asked for clarification, it’s now Switzerland’s turn to explain how the export volumes were able to increase. Export from Switzerland to Russia went up by 50% following the boycott. For apples, the increase is reportedly 400%. The Russian inspection suspects not all products originated from Switzerland, with illegal European products also being exported. Switzerland was given 10 days to give an explanation to Moscow. Switzerland says it is trying hard to fully meet Russian demands. The neutral country is trying to ease the tension. The request for information was passed on to the Swiss authorities.

Russia sends back 360 tonnes of vegetables
The Russian phytosanitary service has sent back 360 tonnes of vegetables to Belarus. Between November 24 and 27, the inspection sent back 17 shipments of Polish and Greek produce, with a total volume of 360 tonnes. The products were being shipped from Belarus to Kazakhstan, but because products are ‘disappearing’ through this route, Russia has tightened demands for transport. The products that were sent back, hadn’t been transported through the allowed checkpoints.

Belarusian import +80%
Since the boycott, import in Belarus has increased substantially. Between August and October, import went up by 80% to 350,000 tonnes, according to the Belarusian authorities. For all products banned by Russia, the imported volume increased. Import of Polish apples increased to 11,430 tonnes in October, against 3580 tonnes in August.

South Africans looking for new export routes to Russia
For its export, HortGro is looking at traditional export markets Germany and the United Kingdom. It is also trying to export goods to Russia, but is encountering problems when attempting to do this through Europe. That’s why they’re looking for alternative export routes. In Western Europe, competition is fierce, so prices there are lower.
The South African stone fruit sector has suffered local damage due to heavy hail. “But,” Anton Rabe of HortGro says, “the quality and size of the fruit look promising, and the harvest can also start 8 to 10 days earlier than in other years.” HortGro expects, in line with earlier growth, to be able to harvest higher volumes than last year, partly because of the yield from newly planted fields, and existing ones having started to produce more fruit.

Iran and Azerbaijan working together

During a visit on political level between Iran and Azerbaijan, an agreement was reached on cooperation between the countries. The countries discussed opportunities for cooperation and prospects for the agricultural and other sectors. Specifically on the agenda was cooperation in export to Russia. Both countries benefit from the boycott. According to the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, fruit and vegetables took 41 of 100 spots on the list with most profitable export products to Russia. Of the 151 million dollars export to Russia by Iran between March 21 and October 23, 80 million dollars was for agricultural products.

Magnit invests in food production
Russia’s largest retailer, Magnit, wants to invest more in food production. Within the next ten years, the company wants to open 40 production locations in Russia. Magnit already has cultivation of cucumbers, lettuce and cherry tomatoes under its own management. The own production accounts for 1.5% of revenue.

Polish apples in Singapore
Recently, Polish apples have begun to appear on shelves of the FairPrice Xtra supermarkets in Singapore. After the boycott, Poland has been looking for new markets, but according to the Polish ambassador in Singapore, this is part of the government’s broader policy to increase export to destinations overseas.

Moldova looking for new markets

Moldova is also looking for new export markets for apples. Recently, the first 40 tonnes of apples were shipped to Egypt and Dubai, a success following a visit to the trade show in Dubai. After the boycott, export to Romania, Belarus and Kazakhstan increased, but growers say that’s not significant. Some growers were nearly completely dependent on the Russian market. In Moldova, they’re hopeful that the borders will open following yesterday’s elections.