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Russia has destroyed 606 tonnes of food since August 6

Rouble plunges even further

The Russian Minister of Agriculture supports the proposal to deal with smugglers of banned food more harshly. Since the beginning of August, Russia has destroyed about 606 tonnes of food. At the request of local residents, the Russian inspection investigated a greenhouse centre. Neighbours had complained about the use of chemical agents in the greenhouse, said to pollute the environment. In other news, prices in Moscow went up further in the past six months, plum growers in Southern Russia are able to ask for a good price due to a shortage, and various Russian supermarkets warned against impending price increases. Pakistan wants to invest in its relations with Russia, and increase export. Japan and Russia seem to be heading for a political row over an archipelago east of Russia. Both countries are claiming the islands.



Rouble plunges
The Russian currency fell even further this morning. Partly due to the low oil price, the rouble's value continues to decline. This morning, the rouble passed the 70 roubles for a dollar line, a level that hadn't been reached before. Since the devaluation of the Chinese currency on August 11, the rouble has lost 13% of its value.

Russian minister for tougher approach to smugglers
The Russian Minister of Agriculture, Alexander Tkachev, supports the proposal by customs to deal with smuggling of banned products more harshly. Last week, customs said that the administrative sanctions against smuggling banned food, were not efficient. The service proposed to have the smuggling come under criminal law. In the proposal, the new law would come into force in March 2016.

Inspection greenhouse after report harmful agents
At the request of local residents, the Russian inspection carried out an inspection at a greenhouse centre in Bogatovsky in Samara. In the centre, cucumbers and tomatoes are grown, with neighbours saying chemical agents are used that pollute the environment of the greenhouse. One of the reported effects is the death of fish in a nearby lake. The owner of the greenhouse denies the allegations. The inspection found chemical agents and fertilizer that were added to the irrigation system, but it remained unclear in what quantity the substances were mixed with the water. In addition, the company wasn't able to present the protective clothing the staff are required to wear when working with these substances. The harvested vegetables are still under investigation.

Prices Moscow up
Russian Mosgorstat looked into the price development of products and services in June 2015 and December 2014. Between those months, various vegetables got 1.5 times more expensive. The average price increase amounted to 12.7%. The beetroot price saw the biggest increase, 1.8 times. Carrots and garlic got 1.5 times more expensive. The price for frozen vegetables, dried fruit, nuts and grapes was 1.4 times higher. Lemons got a third more expensive. Bananas, onions, cabbage and potatoes got 10.6 to 26.6% more expensive.

Southern Russian plums more expensive
Growers in the southern regions of Russia have increased prices for plums by 13 to 14% in a week's time. The current price is between $0.54 and $0.61. The price increase is made possible by limited supply and high demand. Most growers have already sold the early plums, while the later varieties are only on the market to a limited extent. Compared to last year, prices are 80 to 100% higher. This week, a price decrease is expected, when the harvested volume rises.

Russian supermarkets warn against price increases
Various Russian supermarkets are warning against price increases in the coming weeks. Retailer Dixy's reported having received a letter from suppliers, in which a price increase of up to 10% is announced. Previously, Auchan already reported having received a similar announcement from suppliers. The price increase is mainly caused by the fluctuating exchange rate, causing imported products to become more expensive fast.

Russian-Japanese conflict in the making?
In the Far East, a new conflict appears to be simmering. Apart from the political tussle between Japan and China over an archipelago, called Diaoyu by the Chinese and Senkaku by the Japanese, Russian and Japanese interests over another archipelago are clashing. Russian Prime Minister Medvedev visited the Kirul islands recently, the islands have been a part of Russia since the Second World War. The visit was ill-received by Japan, which filed a formal complaint with the Russian ambassador. According to Japanese media, a visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs was postponed due to Medvedev's trip to the islands. Japan wants to regain control of the islands, Russia sees the islands as its property.

Pakistan: subsidy for air transport
In response to the Russian boycott, the government of Pakistan is establishing a subsidy to promote air transport of agricultural products. The Russian market has a potential of 45 billion dollars, but before the Pakistani can profit from that, the yield per hectare in the country needs to go up. The Ministry of Agriculture wants to increase the export value to more than 1 billion dollars over the coming years. To achieve that goal, trade fairs in Russia are visited. In addition, the Russian inspection is invited to visit Pakistani companies, and the government is doing everything to reach a trade agreement with Russia. Finally, Islamabad is seeking rapprochement with the Eurasian Economic Union.

Russia has destroyed 606 tonnes of food since August 6
Although the measure to destroy illegally imported food also causes an uproar in Russia, the government sticks to its policy. Figures from the Russian inspection service show that until August 20, 595 tonnes of fruit and vegetables were confiscated, 555 tonnes of which have been destroyed. In addition, 51 tonnes of the 307 tonnes of confiscated animal products were destroyed. According to the inspection, smuggling goes on, although the magnitude is decreasing.

Pay rise for civil servants
The average Russian civil servant saw their wage increase to 96,500 roubles ($1400) per month in recent months, a 4.9% increase compared to the salary a year before. The best-paid civil servants can be found close to the president. Although their salary decreased by 2.9%, this group makes 226,200 roubles ($3300) a month. Civil servants in the legislative branch saw their salary rise most, by 23.7% to 122,200 roubles ($1771) per month. The average salary in Russia is 34,000 roubles ($500) per month.

More export Castilla-La Mancha to BRICS
The consequences of the closed Russian borders are taking their toll in Spanish Castilla-La Mancha. Although the export increased during the second half of last year, export went down by 25% in the first six months of this year. This means the general export is 2.2 million euros lower. From the start, it was assumed that the region would be hit hard, and now a mixed picture emerges. On the one hand, a huge market has been lost, on the other hand, exporters see an opportunity to increase export to other markets. Particularly trade to the BRICS, except for Russia and China, is going well. The export to India increased by 20.1% to 7.2 million euros. Brazil bought 15.6% more, accounting for 18.1 million euros, and export to South Africa increased by 27% to 7.1 million euros.

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