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August 2014

The month of the Russian ban

August 2014 is not a month that many fresh produce producers, exporters will forget. It was of course the month when the Russian ban for fresh produce and other products from the EU, US, Australia, Canada and Norway came into place and of course the news was dominated by it.

At the end of July Russia had already banned produce from Poland which was sure to have an effect on the rest of Europe especially in the top fruit markets. Poland was already seeking compensation from the EU. While at the same time it started a tongue in cheek campaign against the ban encouraging to get Poles to buy more apples. Speculation was ripe at the beginning of August as to what Russia would do next.

Then on the 7th of August 2014 Russia announced the ban. All fruit and vegetables from EU, US, Australia, Canada and Norway would no longer be allowed to enter the country.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Agriculture in Poland decided to increase their export to different countries such as India and Iran.

China was to start direct sales of fruit and vegetables to Russia, the Baorong company planed to set up a special logistics centre in Dongning on the border with Russia’s Far East.

South Africa was hesitant to send produce to Russia while Turkey and Serbia saw potential and Azerbaijan stepped up supplies to Russia to fill the gap.

The ban also also gave Latin America opportunities specifically Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina.

In Europe it was reported that the boycott was causing impending cash flow problems for Russian importers and retail

Later in August the European Union was looking at compensation for losses due to Russian import ban for the producers of cauliflower, cucumbers, mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes. The support was announced a few days later by European Commission

Switzerland supported Europe with further sanctions against Russia

Spain started a campaign with fruit and vegetable selfies against Russian veto

Meanwhile elsewhere South African citrus and CBS was back in the news when Experts found no evidence to back EU’s fears of CBS they found no evidence that the disease can spread on citrus products without leaves as a pathway.

Both Europe and U.S. apple crops were forecast to increase, WAPA (World Apple and Pear Association) released the 2014 European apple and pear crop estimates.

The Chiquita saga continued when they rejected the Brazilian Cutrale and Safra takeover bid of $611m

40% less lemons were sent from Southern Hemisphere to Europe in 2014

In Australian and New Zealand they were preparing for a glut of avocados this season.

The European Union put a temporary ban on exports of vegetables from Ghana to their region. The ban was put in place after EU authorities identified some vegetables from Ghana that did not meet their quality standards.

New York apple harvest aiming at 32 million bushels, the harvest started in mid August.

The year's British Columbia blueberry season has been marked by big volumes of fruit. But lots of fruit, both domestically and from the United States, has made for another year of low prices. Hot weather on the horizon also threatens to soften fruit firmness on what has been a year with excellent quality of fruit.

While in Chile apples displaced grapes as the main fruit export

Strong rain at the end of June had caused over half of the cherry harvest to be lost in France
California was still suffering from the drought and water costs had skyrocketed 1,000%

In New Zealand the viability of G9 kiwifruit was under question when an industry leader said there were concerns about the long-term commercial viability of the gold kiwifruit variety.

One of the most unusual stories of the year was a man who spent 4 days pushing Brussels sprouts up Wales' highest peak with his nose to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.