Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture has announced that greenhouse vegetable production is set to hit 1.3 million tons this year, vastly outstripping last year’s record crop (1.1 million tons). And this exponential growth is showing no sign of slowing down, with forecasts of reaching around 2 million tons within five years, thanks partly to sizeable government funding, which almost doubled last year to Rbs240 million. The country’s winter greenhouse production area climbed by over 10% to 2,500ha in 2018, with the strategic Stavropol Territory seeing a 5% increase in volumes to 290,500 tons.
Massive growth of Russian vegetable output
Dutch and Belgian fruit continues to reach Russia despite sanctions
EU produce is managing to find its way onto the shelves of Russian supermarkets in defiance of sanctions issued by President Putin against the EU. According to a report by Volkskrant, a smuggling trade is allowing Dutch and Belgian produce to circumvent these measures, with an estimated €240 million worth of pears arriving since the ban was first put into place in August 2014 in response to EU sanctions against Russia.
Russia expects 12.3% rise in vegetable output in 2018
Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture has published figures estimating the best vegetable harvest for ten years, including one million tons of greenhouse vegetables, up 12.3%. The increase in yields is due to the country’s new state-subsidised winter greenhouses. Experts believe that a bumper harvest will not affect the prices of domestic products. The Ministry of Agriculture plans to increase the production of greenhouse vegetables to 1.5 million tons by 2024.
Russian consumers follow European trends
Russian consumers have been following world trends, increasing the consumption of fresh produces, purchasing ready-to-eat vegetables and toughening the quality and food safety standards.
During last 3 years, the area of vegetables grown in hothouses in Russia has increased by some 4%, while the crop volume has grown by 13-14%, say the specialists of Interagro Projects Company. In 2017 total protected area grew by 136 ha; the crop of vegetables amounted to 922,000 tons. The leaders in terms of volume are Krasnodar, Moscow, Stavropol and Volgograd regions.
Russia to end reliance on imported potato
With the on-going sanctions limiting Russia’s imports, the country is reshaping its domestic potato production so that the country no longer has to rely on the world to provide its French fries. In 2017, Russia imported 94% of its French fries but has now invested in the necessary equipment to produce it locally, according to Sergey Korolev, head of Russia’s National Horticultural Union. With the market demand currently for around 106,000 tons annually, the new equipment has the capacity to produce 110,000 tons.
Mushroom production in Russia has been growing steadily
Mushroom production has been growing dynamically in Russia, informs Interagro Company basing on its industry and market researches. Thus, mushroom production has doubled during last two years, reaching 20,000 tons by the end of 2017. The experts believe this figure will double again by the end of 2018.
Russian imports of fruit and vegetables up by 17% in 2017
Russian imports of fresh fruit and vegetables have grown considerably over the past year. The total of 7.1 million tons arriving from abroad in 2017 constitutes a rise of 17% over the 2016 level. Nevertheless, this figure is still well below the 2013 level - the year before the trade embargo came into force - when almost 8.5 million tons of fresh fruit and vegetables were imported into Russia. The recovery is due in part to the Russian Government lifting its own trade embargoes on various Turkish products in 2017 and also thanks to the arrival of record volumes of Ecuadorian bananas.
Russia authorises imports from two more Turkish tomato suppliers
Russia’s agriculture safety watchdog said on March 28 that it is to allow tomato imports from two more Turkish firms as of March 29. This will take to twelve the number of Turkish producers authorised to supply tomatoes to Russia. The Turkish finance minister, Nihat Zeybekci has said her government is absolutely against Russia’s setting of limits and has threatened to respond in kind. In October 2017, Russia agreed to lift its restrictions on the import of Turkish tomatoes. However, Moscow has continued to implement import quotas.
Russian regulator allows five more Turkish enterprises to supply tomatoes to Russia
As of February 1st, 2018, Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control has allowed a further five Turkish tomato producers to import tomatoes. This move is seen as part of an easing of tensions between the two countries following the ending of a Russian ban on imports of fresh produce from Turkey. The ban was imposed when a Russian Su-24 fighter jet was shot down by Turkish warplanes on the Syrian border. In November 2017, Russia allowed imports of up to 50,000 tons of Turkish tomatoes, with only three Turkish suppliers being granted permits.