Poles look to pip Russian apple ban

By bne IntelliNews August 1, 2014

Jan Cienski in Warsaw -

 

As the European Union levels another round of sanctions against Russia, Polish apple, apricot and cabbage producers are among the first to suffer a blowback. A Russian ban on Polish fruit and veg imports has created a patriotic reaction, with Poles touting apples as the best defence against Vladimir Putin.

Russia's veterinary and phytosanitary authority announced a ban on the import of a range of Polish agricultural products starting August 1. The ostensible reason is they're laced with pesticides and a startling array of pests.

"Taking into account the whole range of risks associated with the situation ... Rosselkhoznadzor considers it possible to take urgent measures," the Russian veterinary and phytosanitary agency said. 

Rosselkhoznadzor regularly embroils itself in political tangles, imposing embargoes on imports from countries having political problems with Russia. Since the start of the year it has announced numerous bans on food products, mostly from Central and Eastern European countries. 

On August 1 it announced it has halted Ukrainian fruit juice imports. That adds to a block on dairy products from its neighbour, which it has also threatened with a blanket food import blockage. 

Moldova has seen fruit and meat blocked from the Russian market in addition to the halt put on wine deliveries in 2013. Latvian and Lithuanian pork is also not welcome. Vilnius saw its dairy producers hit last year.

Like the Baltics, Poland has been one of the strongest advocates for tough sanctions against Russia for its annexation of Crimea and for support of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Polish media report worries that Moscow is also preparing to ban beef and poultry imports from the country, after Russian officials claimed they had found dangerous bacteria.

Forbidden fruit

Although financial ties between the two countries are relatively small - mutual foreign direct investment totals no more than around $1.1bn - the trading relationship is much larger. Poland imported goods to the tune of €19bn from Russia last year, mostly oil, gas and other raw materials. It sent €8bn the other way, mostly machinery, chemicals and food products. 

Of that, agricultural products, and particularly apples, play an important part. Poland is the world's largest apple exporter, and about 70% of Polish apples are sent to Russia. The Russian ban clearly constitutes a painful blow to Polish orchard owners.

Stepping to the rescue is Grzegorz Nawacki, an editor at the Puls Biznesu newspaper. On his blog he has called for Poles to start eating as many apples as possible.

"If every one of us starts to eat more apples and to drink more cider we'll help producers and minimise the effect of the Russian embargo on the Polish economy - and besides we'll be healthier," he wrote.

The response to the hashtag #jedzjablka has been enormous, with politicians and celebrities posting photos of themselves eating apples on Facebook and Twitter. Even Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski joined in, extolling the virtues of the Polish apple.

Still, it's going to take a lot of eating to make up for lost exports to Russia. Poland sells 1.2m tonnes of apples a year to Russia. That comes to 50kg per Pole, or 300 apples. An apple a day indeed.

Meanwhile, Warsaw is seeking more conventional routes to help its farmers. Warning Poland could loose as much as €500m from the Russian move, Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki has appealed to the European Commission for compensation.

 

Related Articles

Drum rolls in the great disappearing act of Russia's banks

Jason Corcoran in Moscow - Russian banks are disappearing at the fastest rate ever as the country's deepening recession makes it easier for the central bank to expose money laundering, dodgy lending ... more

Kremlin: No evidence in Olympic doping allegations against Russia

bne IntelliNews - The Kremlin supported by national sports authorities has brushed aside "groundless" allegations of a mass doping scam involving Russian athletes after the World Anti-Doping Agency ... more

PROFILE: Day of reckoning comes for eccentric owner of Russian bank Uralsib

Jason Corcoran in Moscow - Revelations and mysticism may have been the stock-in-trade of Nikolai Tsvetkov’s management style, but ultimately they didn’t help him to hold on to his ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss