HomeNewsRecord high prices of apples in Belarus and Russia are expected in 2024/24 — EastFruit
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Record high prices of apples in Belarus and Russia are expected in 2024/24 – EastFruit

EastFruit analysts note that spring frosts and hail caused significant damage to fruit production in Russia and Belarus. Crops such as apples and pears were hit particularly hard. In some regions, losses of up to 70% of the potential harvest are reported, although overall we can expect about a decrease in production by 30-35%. Deterioration of the fruit quality is also likely, which will have a direct negative impact on the possibility of storing these fruits. Therefore, by the spring of 2025, apple prices in Belarus and Russia are highly likely to break all previous records.

Even officials of these countries admit significant losses, which is unusual given the high level of censorship and mandatory hushing up of any problems in Russia and Belarus. However, government representatives are trying to reassure the population by reporting the possibility of increasing imports from “friendly countries”.

However, the truth is that while it is possible to replace losses with imports, but it will be very costly. We will try to explain why below.

Russia has banned itself from importing apples from most of the largest producing countries in the region, including the EU countries, Moldova and, naturally, Ukraine. Accordingly, apple imports to Russia are now carried out using complex and expensive illegal schemes. In particular, Russia, through the mediation of Belarus and, partially, Kazakhstan, purchases apples from sanctioned countries such as Moldova, Poland and other EU countries, in order to somehow compensate for the deficit. However, these apples are not cheap, because intermediaries charge a lot of money for reloading products and falsifying the documents.

Russia also buys apples from Serbia. However, Serbian exporters are now actively diversifying their exports, preferring to ship their products to richer countries where consumers are willing to pay higher prices for a high-quality product. Therefore, exports of Serbian apples to Russia are falling every year, while exports to countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Great Britain, India, Qatar, Malaysia, and the EU countries, on the contrary, are growing.

In the last couple of years, apple imports from Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan to Russia and Belarus have increased significantly. However, Turkey can sell its high-quality apples at a higher price to India, so only those apples that are rejected by India, enter the Russian market, and these apples are not cheap either. Iran has serious problems with the quality of apples and transportation costs of such apples are high. Therefore, the Iranian apples do not solve the problem of Russia and Belarus in any way. Apples from Azerbaijan are grown and exported in relatively small quantities to solve these huge deficits.

Read also: Turkish apple sales were very fast this season

In addition to these countries, Russia has also resumed importing apples from China in 2022 after several years of banning China from its market due to safety concerns.  However, the cost of transporting apples from China is high, and China has ceased to be a source of inexpensive fruits in the recent years due to improved product quality and the rapid growth of demand for apples in Asia.

Importing apples from countries of the Southern Hemisphere, such as South Africa, Chile, New Zealand, etc., is a very expensive venture. These countries are very far away geographically; they sell apples at high prices due to the mirroring of the seasons, so apples from these countries are always expensive and will cost even more in the new season.

The fact is that the apple harvest in Europe in 2024 may again be low. Moreover, it is possible that it will be even lower than in 2023. Accordingly, it will be almost impossible to find cheap apples, even if you focus on low-quality products, as Russia and Belarus have been doing in recent years. Another bad news is that global prices for apple juice concentrate remain at a high level, which leads to an increase in prices in the segment of cheap apples, which previously ended up on the fresh market and are now being processed.

Accordingly, apple prices in Russia and Belarus are already growing rapidly, and in the new season they will most likely break all previous records.

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