According to preliminary estimates by “I-Marketing”, in 2016 gross harvest of potatoes amounted to 31 million tons, which is 8% lower than the level of 2015. Gross harvest of other types of vegetables reached 16.3 million tons, which corresponds to 2015’s value. 3.3 million tons of fruit and berry products were harvested (+15% to 2015).
Vegetable imports during the first 11 months of 2016 dropped by 743 thousand tons (-33% to the same period of the previous year) and amounted to 1,508 thousand tons. Fruit supplies decreased by 3% (-139 thousand tons) to 4,083 thousand tons
In value terms, the volume of vegetable imports in January–November 2016 equaled $ 1,108 million (-29%, or $ 451 million to the same period of the previous year). Fruit imports declined to $ 3,054 million (-1%, or $ 29 million to the same period of the previous year).
Let us examine separate import values by category.
In the category of fresh vegetables, during the first 11 months of 2016, a decline in supplies from China (-25% in physical terms and -15% in monetary terms) was observed. China’s share in the overall volume of vegetable imports for the first 11 months of 2016 equaled 21 and 26% in volume and value terms respectively. China mainly supplies tomatoes, potatoes, onions and root vegetables to Russia.
Belarus is another supplier of vegetables to Russia, and its share equals 17 and 11% of imports in volume and value terms respectively. Imports from Belarus during the first 11 months of 2016 decreased by 15% in physical terms and by 6% in monetary terms. The largest share in supplies fell on tomatoes and other types of vegetables (apparently, vegetables transferred from countries in Russia’s sanction list). They are followed by vegetables traditional for Belarus, such as potatoes, root vegetables and cabbage.
Egypt is third in imports, its share in the given time period amounting to 15% in volume terms and 8% in value terms, even though during the first 11 months of 2016 supplies of fresh vegetables from this country dropped by 40 and 47% in volume and value terms respectively. The bulk of imports falls on potatoes and onions.
Supplies of fresh vegetables from Israel in the period reviewed declined by 28 and 20% in volume and value terms respectively. The country’s share in volume and value terms amounted to 11 and 12% respectively. Israel mainly supplies root vegetables and potatoes to Russia, as well as other types of vegetables.
Potato imports in January-November 2016 dropped by 49% in physical terms and 58% in monetary terms. At the same time the share of this product in the overall import volume equaled 10 and 19% respectively. The key countries supplying potatoes to Russia are Egypt, China, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Israel.
Tomato imports during the given time period declined by 31% in volume terms and 27% in value terms. The key tomato importers into Russia during the first 11 months of 2016 were Belarus, China, Morocco and Azerbaijan. The share of tomatoes in fresh vegetable imports amounted to 28% in physical terms and 39% in monetary terms.
Imports of garlic and onions into Russia during the first 11 months of the past year decreased by 41 and 30% in volume and value terms respectively, and the shares of these products in imports of fresh vegetables equaled 12 and 11% respectively. Garlic and onions are mainly imported into Russia from China and Egypt.
Root vegetables take the fourth place in import volumes into Russia, their share amounting to 12% in physical terms and 7% in monetary terms. The volume of root vegetable imports declined by 19 and 28% respectively during the time period in question. The key importers of root vegetables into Russia are Israel, China and Belarus.
Regarding fruits, Ecuador serves as the main supplies thereof to Russia. This country is leading primarily due to banana supplies. It should be noted that banana imports increased by 11% in physical and monetary terms over the first 11 months of 2016, and supplies from Ecuador in particular increased as well.
Another important fruit supplier is Belarus, which accounts for 9% of imports in volume terms. Fruits imported from Belarus include apples, pears, apricots, cherries, sweet cherries and peaches. It is obvious that most of these fruits are grown in other countries, including European countries included in the sanction list.
Turkey is third among countries importing fruits into Russia, and its share equals 8 and 9% of supplies of these products in volume and value terms respectively. The country mainly supplies citrus fruit, which account for 90% of the total volume of Turkish fruit imports.
In terms of fruit types, Russians prefer bananas (opting for bananas from Ecuador in particular), citrus fruits (mainly from Turkey, Morocco, Egypt and South Africa) and pome fruits, such as apples and pears (from Belarus, Serbia, China and Argentina).
It should be noted that the largest share (around 50%) in the structure of potato consumption, according to official statistics, falls on personal consumption, whereas the share of industrial consumption amounts to about 40%. In the structure of fruit and vegetable consumption, up to 80% falls on personal consumption, and around 10% is accounted for by industrial processing.
Average annual per capita consumption in 2015 was as follows: potatoes – 112 kilograms; vegetables – 111 kilograms; fruits – 61 kilograms.
During the first 11 months of 2016, Russians reduced their consumption of fruit and vegetables – at the same time, the decline in vegetable purchases in stores and markets was partially compensated for by self-grown vegetables. A similar situation is observed in the apple segment. In addition, consumption of grapes, peaches, nectarines and kiwi fruits, as well as exotic fruits, declined, too.
Bananas and citrus fruits remain the most popular fruit types among Russians – both of these segments demonstrated growth in consumption over the first 11 months of 2016.