Serbian exporters of apple refuse Russia in favor of EU and Middle East
According to EastFruit, Serbian apple exporters are gradually beginning to understand that despite having access to the Russian market, a high-quality apple can be sold more expensive in other countries of the world. As a result, from the beginning of the 2018/19 season, Serbia has been actively seeking and finding alternatives to the Russian market.
Since September 2018 Serbian apple producers have been supplying more than 200 tons of apples to the UK each month. Moreover, in January 2019 the volume of Serbian apple deliveries to this country exceeded 350 tons per month. It should be noted that all these apples are high-quality and are intended for fresh market. Minor volumes of apples from Serbia were also exported to other EU countries, and large volumes of apples for processing were sold to Italy at the beginning of the season.
The Middle East became a new market for produce from Serbia in 2019. Some trial shipments of apples to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were shipped in October and November last year and now traders from Dubai are awaiting the arrival of a large container batch of Royal Gala apples from Serbia, according to the Ukrainian Horticultural Association (UHA).
In addition to the UAE, Serbia also began shipping apples to Iraq. In January Serbia shipped 342 tons of apples to Iraq. Thus, supply of the Serbian apple on the Russian market continue to decline for four consecutive seasons. Among the main reasons for the decline in Serbia’s interest in the Russian market analysts call increased competition from local producers, increased shipments of cheap apples from Moldova and other countries that are closer to Russia than Serbia, and the annual decline in real incomes of Russian citizens.
Reducing the dependence of the Serbian apple industry on the Russian market is undoubtedly very important for local farmers, taking into account the prospect of the country's accession to the EU, followed by a very likely loss of access to the Russian market.