Pomo D’Oro, Golden Apple of Russian Import


Throughout many years tomatoes have been one of the most popular vegetable crops both in Russia and the world. Tomatoes, which once were considered to be noxious, now occupy about 8% of the world’s acreage. The fifth part of the gross yield of field vegetables in Russia is tomatoes. Together with cucumbers and green salad, tomatoes are a basic kind of greenhouse products produced by Russian enterprises, enjoying a high level of demand among consumers.

However, current facilities and financial opportunities of Russian producers of tomatoes both of greenhouse and field areas are not enough to meet demands of the population, which leads to a high import share on tomato market: 2013 saw record costs of import of the given product during the recent five years.

The growth of expenditure on tomato import starts annually in the third quarter and continues till May, when import cost is the maximum one, which is followed by a decrease. In 2013 tomato import reduced in natural terms, however, due to rises of prices for foreign products, the cost indicator exceeded the level of 2012 by 5%.

In recent years there has been a significant diversification of countries that export tomatoes to Russia: in 2012 the share of Turkey in the structure of Russian import decreased to the level of 2009, while Morocco, Netherlands, Spain increased their shares in the total volume by 2-4%. Along with Turkey, one of the main suppliers of tomato to Russia is China, which provides Russian consumers with the volume of products four times less – about 10%.

In the period from 2009 to 2013 there was a shift in the import structure towards the far-abroad countries, while volumes of imported products from CIS countries decreased.

Schedule 1 Dynamics of tomato import volume in 2009 – 2013*, t

Schedule 1 Dynamics of tomato import volume in 2009 – 2013*, t

Source: Federal Customs Service, Intesco Research Group

In the nearest years, however, tomato import volumes will be influenced by two opposite forces: implementation by the state of the Program of support and development of agriculture and Russia’s entry to WTO.

The program specifies a number of measures to consolidate Russian producers’ position, to increase their competitiveness and increase the share of Russian tomatoes on the market. Entry to WTO means a decrease of import dues, growth of imported product supply volumes, and a number of restrictions for support of Russian producers, which will increase competition, forcing some small and medium-size Russian enterprises to leave the market.

For more information, please, see Market of Fresh Vegetables: Comprehensive Analysis and Forecast till 2016” by Intesco Research Group.