Russian vegetable import rises 10% in first half of 2013

The Russian imports of fresh fruit and vegetables grown in the first half of this year with about 10%. The import of fresh vegetables from the Netherlands even grew by 14% but the import of fresh fruit from the Netherlands dropped sharply for the second consecutive year. On an annual basis (2012), the Russian imports account for a total of 6 billion euros, of which 4.4 billion euros for fresh fruit and 1.6 billion euros for fresh vegetables. The value of imports from the Netherlands (in 2012) amounted to 220 million euro, of which 160 million for fresh fruit and 60 million for fresh vegetables.
(Tables 1 - 4).

During the first six months of this year, 3.2 million tons of fresh fruit was imported. That's 8% more than last year. In the same period, 1.5 million tons of vegetables was imported. This represents a growth of 12% compared to 2012.

Major shifts import apples ; much more from Poland
Apples and bananas are the two major import products in fresh fruit. The import of apples has grown by 14% in the first half of this year. There have been some major shifts among suppliers with this product. Western European countries delivered much less than last year, Italy -51 % , Belgium -15% , France -60% , Germany -57 %, and Netherlands -54 %. A number of VHR countries yielded significantly fewer apples to Russia, Chile -10% , Argentina -7 %. Import from South Africa and New Zealand was larger. China as the second largest supplier also showed a significant drop ( -10 % ). However, Poland, Moldova and Belarus exported more to neighbouring Russia ( Table 6 ). Bananas mainly come from Ecuador, bananas representing virtually the only export to Russia.

Soft citrus and oranges are other important products. Import of both increased slightly in the first half of this year (+2%). The import of pears dropped considerably (-15%). Imports from Belgium even fell with 43%. The import of pears from Netherlands plummeted even further (-60%). (Table 7).

Another group of fresh fruits shows a strong import growth in the first half of year: lemons (+11%), grapes (+18%), grapefruit (+23%), kiwis (+8%), peaches (+13%), strawberries (+8%) and apricots (+13%). Smaller fruit products whose imports are growing steadily: avocados, mangoes, figs and berries.

Regarding fruit suppliers, all major countries show high growth rate: Ecuador (+16%), Poland (+37%), Egypt (+17%), Turkey (+12%) and Argentina (+15%). Then follows a group whose imports show a decline, namely: China (-44%), Spain (-10%) and Morocco (-18%).

More vegetables from the Netherlands and Belgium
Tomatoes are by far the most important vegetable products entering Russia. About half of them come in from Turkey. The total tomato import in the first half of this year increased slightly (+4%) although Turkey itself supplied less (-7%). Holland is the sixth largest supplier. According to figures from Russian customs, imports from the Netherlands in the first six months grew by more than 10% (Table 5). Onions (in quantity) represent the second most common vegetable product. The Netherlands are still the main supplier despite the sharp drop (half) of deliveries in 2012. In the first half of this year, imports from Netherlands recovered (+18%) (Table 8). With carrots we see something similar when it comes to import from the Netherlands: a decrease in the previous years and a recovery early this year (Table 9). In contrast, cabbage import from the Netherlands declined even further (Table 10).

Seen in its totality, Turkey is the largest supplier of fresh vegetables to Russia. China is the second largest and Israel the third largest, just before the Netherlands. Poland, the fifth on the list, is Increasingly supplying Russia (Table 3).
Notable drop in top fruit from Belgium

Belgium ships large quantities of top fruit to Russia. The smaller range of top fruit in the past season explains the sharp decline of Belgian exports to Russia. Exports of fresh vegetables also show a sharp decline last year (mainly by fewer exports of carrots). In the first half of this year there was a recovery (Table 13).

More information:
Jan Kees Boon

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