Russian growers are disappointed with the developments in the early apple segment. Most of them are ready to abandon the harvesting of early apple varieties due to a sharp collapse in prices, as well as a lack of end-consumer demand, analysts of the EastFruit project report.
In the current season, the harvest of early apples in Russia is slightly higher than a year ago. Key market players attribute this fact to the increase in areas of apple orchards in almost all regions of the country. Despite a fairly good harvest, local producers today face two rather serious problems. These are sales channels for the current apple harvest and a large percentage of imported apples on the Russian market.
Today “Geneva” apples are sold at 26-35 RUB/kg ($ 0.35-0.47/kg), which is on average 20% cheaper than at the end of last week. Compared to the same period last year, the prices for early apple varieties in Russia are on average 1.5 times lower today. For comparison: in mid-July 2020, apple prices were announced at the level of 50-75 RUB/kg ($ 0.67-1/kg).
Retail chains also had a big hand in such a rapid drop in prices for local apples. According to the growers, they refuse to buy apples at a price higher than 25 RUB/kg ($ 0.33/kg). Besides, there is a large percentage of imported apples both of new and last year harvest in Russian domestic market. Local retail chains prefer to work with imported apples, since they have a better presentation. For comparison: apples of the new harvest exported from Moldova to Moscow are currently offered at 30 RUB/kg ($ 0.40/kg).
Russian farmers consider it inexpedient to continue harvesting early apples, since the costs of labor, logistics and packaging have significantly increased this season. According to key market players, for apple harvesting to be profitable, prices in this segment must be at least 40 RUB/kg ($ 0.54/kg).
Some growers are trying to find a way out of this situation and invite people to pick apples themselves in their orchards. The price of a kilogram of apples is announced from 20 RUB/kg ($ 0.27/kg). But even such measures do not bring the desired result and most farmers are forced to hand over almost the entire apple harvest for processing at 7 RUB/kg ($ 0.09/kg).
It is worth noting that today local farms already offer later varieties of apples, suitable for transportation and temporary storage. Their price ranges within 40-45 RUB/kg ($ 0.54-0.60/kg). However, if the sales do not change for the better in the near future, such price level is unlikely to remain for better quality apples.
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