Russia seeks self-sufficiency in greenhouse vegetable production

The Russian Ministry of Agriculture estimates that the national production of greenhouse vegetables in 2018 will exceed one million tons. It also foresees a continued growth over the next few years, which will make it possible to produce 1.5 million tons. The goal is to become self-sufficient.

Russia's greenhouse vegetable production, which consists mostly of tomatoes and cucumbers, will reach 1.03 million tons in 2018. This is 12.3% more than in 2017. The average yield will be 40.6 kilos per square meter, compared to 36.9 kilos per square meter in the previous year.

As reported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), the production of greenhouse vegetables up until October 15 was 785,900 tons, which is 24.3 more that in the same period of 2017. 483,100 tonnes corresponded to cucumbers (+14.3%), 290,600 tonnes to tomatoes (+45.5%) and 12,200 tonnes to other vegetables (+24.4%).

The growth is due to the launch of new greenhouses and the modernization of the old ones. At the end of 2017, there were 251 hectares of greenhouses in production. At present, approximately 450 hectares of greenhouses are under construction.

According to the National Horticultural Association of Russia, this year, for the first time, domestic cucumber producers will almost be able to fully meet the country's needs, and imports will be minimal, not exceeding 10%. This is much lower than last year's imports, which accounted for around 20% of the total supply. The main suppliers of cucumbers to Russia are Iran, China and Belarus.

In the case of greenhouse tomatoes, it won't be possible to reach a position of self-sufficiency, but imports will also be reduced. In 2017, these accounted for 60% of the total consumption, and this year they will represent 45%. The main suppliers of tomatoes to Russia are Azerbaijan, China and Morocco.

As reported by the Ministry of Agriculture, citing data from the Fruit News Analytical Agency, the cultivation of cucumbers in Russia has developed quicker than that of tomatoes in recent years because it was cheaper. However, in the past year and a half, Russian entrepreneurs have started growing more greenhouse tomatoes, anticipating the saturation of the cucumber market.

According to experts from the Institute of Agricultural Market Research of Russia, this country will be able to have a good supply of domestic greenhouse tomatoes. From January to October this year, the production has grown by 40% compared to the same period of 2017. This production is expected to continue growing due to the fact that a large number of greenhouses are being built in the country.

EU Member States are not allowed to export fruits and vegetables to Russia due to the ban on European productions, in force since August 2014. In the year before the veto, in 2013, the Spanish export of fruit and vegetables to Russia amounted to 160,023 tonnes worth 148.5 million Euro, according to data from the Customs Department, processed by FEPEX.



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