Just yesterday, EastFruit, with reference to Uzkarantin, reported that the situation regarding dried fruits turned out to be a mistake by the Rosselkhoznadzor in identifying the pest and that it had been resolved between Russia and Uzbekistan. Unfortunately, almost immediately thereafter, bad news for the Uzbek side appeared again. Rosselkhoznadzor published another press release on its website in which it confirmed their previous conclusions about the presence of a quarantine pest – the khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium) – in the batch of dried apricots intended for Russia and EAEU member states.
Russian authorities were obviously not satisfied with the statements from Uzbekistan authorities about its mistake following the negotiations. Therefore, starting on December 7, 2020, Russia introduced a complete ban on the supply of all crop products from the Fergana region to Russia. At least, this is how the experts interpreted the statement of Rosselkhoznadzor, which literally states: “In this regard, Rosselkhoznadzor is forced to impose a ban on the import of all regulated products from the Fergana region of Uzbekistan.” Since the khapra beetle can affect the stocks of all types of crop products and their processing, most likely no vegetables, fruits, dried fruits, nuts, cereals, etc., which have a certificate of origin from the Fergana region, will be allowed into Russia. However, EastFruit awaits further clarifications from the competent authorities of these countries.
The Fergana region in Uzbekistan is one of the leaders in the export of fruits and vegetables and Russia is the main sales market for products from this region with a large margin from others. Therefore, this issue is a very serious blow to the country’s export ambitions in the fruit and vegetable sector.
Russian authorities provided very unpleasant photographs (see below) of a batch of Uzbek dried apricots damaged by a pest as proof of the seriousness of the situation. The trade sources with whom EastFruit specialists managed to communicate did confirm that not all dried fruits supplied to Russia from Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries are of ideal quality. “There is a buyer for every product. Some order a premium product and get perfectly clean dried apricots or other dried fruits, while others ask for the cheapest product in order to further refine it. Such goods, as a rule, go for further processing,” one trader said on condition of anonymity.
The overall opinion from fruit and vegetable business representatives of the region during EastFruit’s interviews still supported the belief that the complicated relations between Russia and Uzbekistan cannot be ruled out. It would extremely unfortunate if millions of fruit and vegetable producers in Uzbekistan become hostages of this complicated situation.
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