Blueberries in Russia – season results and business development prospects

Blueberries in Russia – season results and business development prospects


The main reason for the decline in prices for blueberries in Russia was not an increase in domestic production, but an increase in imports

Russia continues to hold the lead in terms of wholesale and retail prices for blueberries in Europe. This was announced by the expert of the project “APK-Inform: Vegetables and Fruits” Evgeny Kuzin during the largest international webinar on blueberries “Blueberries in Eastern Europe”. The event was organized by the project, and representatives of the berry industry from many countries took part in the event, including a lot of participants from Peru, the leading country in the world blueberry market.

In his speech, Evgeny noted that in 2020 the average selling price for blueberries in the Russian Federation decreased by 14%, while in most European countries prices for this berry increased. At the same time, the main reason for the decline in prices for blueberries was not the growth of domestic production, but an increase in imports, primarily from Georgia and Serbia.

According to EastFruit analysts, in the first two months of the season (June – July 2020) Georgia increased the supply of fresh blueberries to Russia by 3.3 times, and Serbia by 72%. At the same time, Sebria supplied 936 tons of blueberries – a record volume for the entire time, and Georgia – more than 620 tons. This is also a new record for deliveries for Georgia, which is ranked fourth in the ranking of blueberry suppliers to Russia.

“Russia has great prospects and excellent opportunities to increase domestic blueberry production: access to almost unlimited land and water resources, many microzones suitable for growing blueberries, inexpensive harvesting labor that can be easily attracted from Central Asian countries, access to relatively inexpensive financing and state support, and, most importantly, the highest prices for blueberries in the region, which guarantee higher rates of return on projects for growing these berries than in any other European country, ”says Andrey Yarmak, economist at the Investment Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ( FAO).

See also: Ukraine is among the leaders in terms of growth of blueberry exports in the world top 20

“However, at the same time, it should be borne in mind that many promising berry projects in Russia turn out to be economic failure, despite all the conditions. One of the main reasons is the too large scale of projects at the initial stage, when investors do not have a deep or even basic understanding of neither growing technologies, nor approaches to refinement, nor approaches to marketing. At the same time, in the berry business, projects must be adapted to local conditions: you need to find suitable varieties, you need to understand how to deal with local pests and diseases, how to adapt the technology to the local climate and you must definitely spend time training your own specialists – foreign consultants will not be able to solve these problems, ”says Andrey Yarmak.

It is interesting to note that, according to APK-Inform: Vegetables and Fruits, the area under blueberries in Russia is now 35 times lower than in Ukraine and 13-14 times lower than in neighboring Belarus. However, the technological provision of Russian blueberry producers with equipment, cooling, sorting and packaging capacities for blueberries is higher than in Belarus, but lower than in Ukraine.

The authors of the study “Tall blueberry market in Eastern Europe”, which allows you to get a complete picture of the prospects for production, export and import of this berry in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, also note that Russian berry farmers are betting on growing mid-season blueberries, while farmers in Ukraine is given preference to early varieties.

The study, the results of which are available only by subscription, also lists the specific names of blueberry varieties that are grown in different countries, as well as the area, yield and prospects for production, import and export of blueberries in these countries over the next five years.

However, EastFruit analysts believe that the growth in consumption and imports of blueberries in Russia in 2020, when household incomes dropped sharply, speaks of the huge market prospects for this berry in this country.

As a reminder, the webinar was held on September 17, 2020 in English, and its recording is available at this link.


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