Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Fruit prices fall off sharply in September

The Office of the Federal Anti-monopoly Service in the Sverdlovsk region announced that the average price for a kilogram of fruit fell sharply during the month of September.

Immediately following U.S. and EU sanctions earlier in the summer, the average price of a kilogram of fruit reached nearly $2.65 during the month of August. Common fruit products such as apples had increased by 15.5 percent. However, analysts believe the sharp increases in fruit prices were reactionary and not reflective of the market value, Oblastnaya Gazeta reports.

Apples were included on the list of food imports which came from countries that supported anti-Russian sanctions and were temporarily banned. The imported apples remaining on Russian grocery shelves increased in price by 75 percent on average. Poland, Italy and France had historically been the largest provider of Apples to Russia.

In early August, Sverdlovsk Chairman Denis Pasler met with farmers in the Sverdlovsk region to devise a priority growing list to compensate for the lack of imported food products, such as apples. The regional government also began negotiating import arrangements with other countries to supply apples. Now, the majority of apples consumed in Russia are grown domestically or imported from Serbia, according to Oblastnaya Gazeta.

"The Russian apple was always more of the same Polish," Sverdlovsk region fruit import director Igor Sychev said, Oblastnaya Gazeta reports. "So, in this case, a special price increase has not happened. The reason for higher prices for our apples is simple: it's not the cost of growing production; [it's] that the European agricultural product is subsidized."

Similarly, Belgian pears have largely been replaced by Chinese pears and even more fruit products are being imported from long-time suppliers in Turkey, Iran, Armenia and Uzbekistan.

Russia has also begun developing its agricultural infrastructure as it prepares to export strawberries for the first time in the country's history. Last week, the Interregional Agricultural Exhibition was held in Yekaterinburg, showcasing the future export potential of Chelyabinsk's "Gardens of Russia" project. "Gardens of Russia" boasts 55 acres of strawberry fields for domestic consumption and for international export. Thus far, "Gardens of Russia" has sold more than 10 tons of strawberries to international buyers, according to Oblastnaya Gazeta.