Do not cut down cabbages – Gazeta Kommersant № 53 (7254) from March 29, 2022

Retail chains have faced a shortage of open-air vegetables and a sharp rise in prices, especially for cabbage and carrots. Russia’s 2021 harvest is coming to an end, young cabbage in Turkey, Egypt and Uzbekistan is not yet ripe, and a number of local producers may be holding back vegetable sales in anticipation of rising prices. The Ministry of Agriculture eliminates the risk of shortage of vegetables, noting growing imports.

Four retail outlets told Kommersant that retail chains were facing a shortage of open-air vegetables and a sharp rise in purchase prices for this category. According to them, first of all the problem arose with white cabbage, especially the Russian harvest, there are also difficulties with the presence of carrots and beets.

From March 1 to March 27, the prices of cabbage for suppliers increased by 56%, for carrots – by 47%, for beets – by 62%, Kommersant’s interlocutor told a large network.

According to him, in general, the growth of purchase prices is not fully broadcast on the shelf. According to Rosstat, from the end of February to March 18, retail cabbage rose by an average of 11.14%, carrots – by 10.73%. According to Kommersant’s calculations, based on data from online storefronts, cabbage prices in a number of large chains in Moscow rose by 25-30% from March 17 to 25, to 89-130 rubles. for 1 kg, for carrots – by 11-22%, up to 49.9-59.5 rubles. for 1 kg.

Two Kommersant interlocutors in retail chains note that the traditional season of 1-1.5 months begins, when last year’s local vegetables ran out and imports entered the market.

There is a shortage of cabbage because Russian cabbage ended earlier this year before the mass ripening of young cabbage in Uzbekistan, Turkey and Egypt, which further affects the dynamics of prices, Kommersant’s source in the major network explained.

Kommersant’s interlocutor in the industry believes that some repositories of agricultural producers may also hold back sales, expecting higher prices. Large networks do not officially comment on the topic. Only Metro assured that there are no difficulties with the supply of vegetables.

Alexei Krasilnikov, Executive Director of the Union of Potato and Vegetable Market Participants, notes that in 2021 the sown area under cabbage has significantly decreased after several consecutive failed seasons for the product. According to Rosstat, in 2021 the area under cabbage in farms of all categories decreased by 7.2% to 71.3 thousand. ha, gross collection decreased by 10.4% to 2.37 million tons.

This spring season, Russian vegetable producers entered with low stocks: according to Rosstat on March 1, large enterprises had 156.1 thousand left in storage. tons, which is 35% less year after year, adds Mr. Krasilnikov.

Mukhazhir Etuyev, general director of the vegetable producer Prinevskoye, notes that due to low profitability, many farms have stopped growing cabbage in the last few years.

The product is harder to store than other vegetables, and requires more manual labor to collect, he said. The Predportovy farm says that the remnants of last year’s cabbage harvest were sold out in March, and the difficulties in the industry are due to the lack of storage facilities, which require significant investment.

The Ministry of Agriculture told Kommersant that the risk of a shortage of vegetables in the domestic market was ruled out. According to customs data, from the beginning of this year to March 20, imports of potatoes to Russia increased by 5%, carrots, turnips and table beets – by 7.8%, and cabbage – by 39.1% year on year. Deliveries from Egypt, China, Turkey, Israel and Azerbaijan are stable, and import duties on vegetables have been zeroed by September 30, the Ministry of Agriculture said. They added that the entry into the market of vegetables of the new harvest helps to stabilize the price situation.

According to Alexei Krasilnikov, high prices also carry risks for producers. In 2010-2011, after the drought, the prices for open-ground vegetables rose so much that consumers began to abandon them in favor of cereals and pasta, he recalls. In 2022, adds Mr. Krasilnikov, in Russia is expected to increase sown areas under open ground vegetables by 20 thousand. ha, including through incentives of the Ministry of Agriculture. Mukhazhir Etuyev fears that farms may have problems with the supply of varieties and hybrids due to international tensions, although there are still seed stocks.

Anatoly Kostyrev; Konstantin Kurkin, St. Petersburg

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