Friday, 28 March 2014 00:00

Russian fruit & vegetable imports grow in 2013

The Russian import market of fresh fruit and vegetables in 2013 was worth 8.2 billion dollars (6.2 billion Euro). Two years before it was 7.7 billion dollars. In 2011 and 2012 the value was 5.5 and 6.0 billion Euro respectively. Volume comparisons show last year figures at 8.4 million ton, compared to 8 in 2012 and 8.3 in 2011. Previous years showed imports increasing sharply.

At least 400,000 tons from The Netherlands (including re-export)

On the basis of figures provided by Russian customs, The Netherlands are number 9 in the list of suppliers. In 2010 The Netherlands was 5th and that year, 351,000 tons were supplied. In 2013 that was still 255,000 tons. According to the KCB, around 130,000 tons of Dutch produce was delivered to Russia, (table 7a). According to Eurostat figures, in 2013 around 170,000 tons were delivered to Russia including re-export from The Netherlands. In 2006 and 2008 that was still 435,000 tons (table 7b). What is really noticeable is the amount of trade from The Netherlands to Lithuania which has grown every year and last year amounted to 377,000 tons (table 9). The bulk of this went on to Russia. Lithuania say that The Netherlands only delivered around 480,000 tons of fresh fruit and vegetable to Russia (table 11). A large part of the produce is delivered through/via The Netherlands. According to Russian import figures, only 10,000 tons of fresh fruit and vegetables were imported via Lithuania. Both other Baltic states (Estonia and Latvia) also rarely deliver fresh fruit and vegetables. According to Eurostat figures, in 2013 Estonia and Latvia imported 230,000 and 12,000 tons of fresh fruit and vegetables to Russia.

Apples and banana most important import product

Apples and bananas are the two major products which are imported from Russia. Apple import continued to grow in 2013 but banana import was more modest. Tomatoes, the third import product showed good growth as did fourth place, soft citrus, then a number of products follow which reached a peak in 2011 but in recent years have fallen, these are oranges, pears, grapes and carrots. Onion import in 2013 was also seen to have been previously higher (table 5).

Ecuador and Turkey the big two, Poland rising strongly

Ecuador as shown in the volume, is the most important supplier of fresh fruit and vegetables. This is mostly due to the banana. Ecuadorian bananas have a free monopoly on the Russian banana market. Turkey is the other massive supplier of fresh fruit and vegetables to Russia but import is not longer growing. Tomatoes are the most important product supplied by Turkey to Russia along with soft citrus. Poland is rising as third supplier. Almost three quarters of Polish deliveries consists of apples, (table 15). China follows in fourth place but their import shows a falling trend and apples, soft citrus and tomatoes are their most important products (table 16). Spanish import, number 5, has stabilised after a short spurt in 2013. The main Spanish products going to Russia are peaches/nectarines and tomatoes (table 18). Morocco also supply soft citrus (table 19), and Israel are a large supplier of products such as carrots and peppers (table 20).

Less from Argentina

Countries who also recognise the opportunity to import more to Russia alongside Ecuador, are Turkey, Israel and also South Africa (oranges, lemons, grapefruit's), White Russia (apples, tomatoes, pears and carrots; re-export), Moldova (apples, re-export; table 21), Iran (cucumbers/gherkins, cabbage, kiwi, grapes). Countries who lost out on the Russian fruit and veg market are, Argentina (pears, soft citrus, lemons, apples), Azerbaijan (persimmon), Belgium (pears), and The Ukraine (tomatoes).

Export falls for Dutch produce

According to the KCB onions are the main product grown in The Netherlands which are delivered to Russia. However, the 34,000 tons of 2013 is nothing compared to the 136,000 tons of 2010. Pears and tomatoes are the other large export products of Dutch origin to head to Russia. What is striking is the steady sharp decline in export of Dutch apples and cabbage to Russia (table 7a). Export and re-export of tomatoes is by far the most important Dutch product going to Russia. On the basis of import figures from Lithuania, that is around 100,000 tons. There are also many peppers, pears and pineapple which travel from The Netherlands to Lithuania and on to Russia.

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