The world’s largest apple importer, Russia, imported 741,357 tons of apples valued at $379.5 million in 2015/16, a 9% decrease in volume on MY2014/15, according to a new USDA Gain report.
And in the 2016/17 marketing year, Russian apple imports are expected to decline by 3% to 720,000 tons, it says.
Russia’s main apple suppliers in MY 2015/16 were Belarus (221,908 tons), Serbia (198,892 tons) and China (113,923 tons). Moldova became its fourth largest supplier, doubling its exports to 57,206 tons.
Officially, Russian importers are importing apples from suppliers that are not subject to its counter sanctions affecting agricultural products originating from the US, Canada, the EU, Australia and Norway.
“However, the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (Rosselkhoznadzor) has repeatedly detected shipments of fresh produce from various banned origins.
“Since August 2014, Rosselkhoznadzor has detected more than 1,085 illegal shipments. In many cases, these shipments transited through Belarus with counterfeit phytosanitary certificates from countries like Albania, Chile, Turkey, Israel, Tunisia, Morocco, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Egypt and the Republic of South Africa,” the report says.
In November 2015, President Vladimir Putin issued a decree also banning imports of Turkish apples, grapes, pears and other agricultural products.
“Tighter border controls will increase the cost of imported apples, and with more locally produced fruit available on the market, budget conscious consumers are expected to curb spending on imported fruit, the report says.