Russia’s Fruit Import Substitution Not Working as Planned, Data Shows

Russia’s import substitution, planned as the country’s response to Western sanctions, is yet to yield tangible results in the horticultural sector, Fresh Plaza writes citing official data.

According to the news outlet, fruit imports in Russia continue to grow steadily, despite the very rapid expansion of orchard area and an increase in the volume of domestic production of apples.

In the first two months of 2019, Russia imported 11% more apples than in the same period last year. Moreover, the January volume of apple imports exceeded 161 thousand tons and was the highest since 2015.

Experts say that Russian apples are inferior in quality to their imported counterparts, so the consumer is simply not interested in buying the domestic product. Therefore, Russian growers are forced to sell a significant amount of crop for processing needs at bargain prices. Fortunately, the domestic market for apple concentrate is still quite capacious, and even low; according to Russian growers, prices for industrial apple are relatively high for other countries, such as Ukraine, Poland and Moldova.

And according to, even a ban on the supply of apples from the EU, the U.S. and Ukraine does not guarantee any protection. As soon as the apple re-export channel closes through Belarus, the import of apples to Russia from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Macedonia and Georgia immediately grows. These countries became the leaders in the growth rate of apple supplies to the Russian market in the first two months of 2019, Fresh Plaza writes.