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Smugglers fixed road

Russian fresh produce segment of lower quality after boycott

The quality of the fresh produce segment has decreased in Russia since the boycott on Turkey. A convoy of angry farmers is on its way to Moscow to draw attention to the corruption of local authorities. A band of smugglers have fixed a road and broadened it to expedite the transport of illegal products. Belarus is the largest customer of Ukrainian apples. This country is still suspected of funnelling fruit into Russia. 

Russian fresh produce segment of lower quality after boycott
The quality of fruit and vegetables in the Russian supermarkets has decreased since the boycott on Turkey, according to research by Morgan Stanley. He visited several supermarkets and made a note of the quality of the products. Even though the samples were not representative, a decrease in general quality was noticeable. After Turkey was boycotted, the supermarkets switched to North African and Middle Eastern import products. This resulted in similar quality for higher prices. According to researchers, the lifting of sanctions will not have any effect on the inflation. Russians chose local products more often due to the high inflation; import products are less popular. 

Angry farmers on their way to Moscow
A few hundred angry farmers are on a protest march to Moscow. Their protest serves to draw attention to local corruption; this means that the regional problem becomes a national problem. In the 24 hours that the tractors have left from the south of Russia, the police have halted them 17 times. The FSB (successor KGB) was present during the inspections, according to some participants of the march. The convoy needs about six days to arrive at the Russian capital. The protest is one of the few that started away from the bigger cities. Truckers protested in a similar manner against the introduction of a new tax, earlier this year. The truckers were not successful in their protests, because the tax has been introduced anyway. 

Smugglers fix road
Recently, a band of smugglers fixed a dirt road between the Belarusian capital Minsk and the Russian capital Moscow. The road was tackled, so that heavier trucks could use it. The road has been broadened and turning points have been added. The authorities are familiar with this smuggling route and they have extra patrols. Earlier, a convoy of trucks were halted with 175 tons of Polish fruit with a value of 13 million roubles (200,000 dollar). The fruit has been destroyed.

Belarus is the largest buyer of Ukrainian apples
Ukraine has been exporting more apples to Belarus, according to recent research. Belarus takes 62% of the Ukrainian apple export in the first half of this year. Second on the list is Georgia with 11%. The top three is completed by Moldavia with a 10% market share. Kazakhstan is number four with 9%.

In turn, Belarus strengthened its position as apple exporter, mostly into Russia. The apple export increased by 104% to 175,000 tons in 2012, the export increased by 134% to 411,000 tons in 2015. The export of Belarus has quintupled since Russia started its boycott, according to research. The Russian customs suspects Belarus of illegally passing fruit from boycotted countries. 

Ambitious plans Turkey and Russia
The Turkish president Erdogan and the Russian president Putin shook each other’s hand during a summit, where they pronounced a wish to let the market grow to 100 billion dollars. An ambitious plan, so writes the Turkish website Al Monitor. Looking back, the market reached a high with a value of 38 billion dollar in 2008. Afterwards, only a downward trend is noticeable, partly due to the worldwide crisis. There are contracts waiting with regard to energy, defence, and tourism. This could increase the market. For now, the West is the most important business partner of Turkey. 

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