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Russia’s Rising Appetite for Chinese Fruit

March 02, 2024

A series of recent announcements published on the website of Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision (Rosselkhoznadzor) highlight an increase in Chinese fruit imports into the country’s border regions. The announcements placed particular emphasis on the expansion of China’s fruit export portfolio with exotic varieties.

In the first two months of 2024, Zabaykalsky Krai in the Russian Far East alone imported 2,897 metric tons of exotic fruit, including mangos, dragon fruit, avocados and passion fruit, which represents a threefold increase over the same period of last year.

The assortment of fruit was expanded with bananas, whose imports into Zabaykalsky Krai through border checkpoints were suspended in 2019 before being restarted in January of this year. The first shipments of bananas totaled 40 metric tons, which is an impressive amount considering that the region only received 350 kilograms of Chinese bananas in 2018.

In total, Zabaykalsky Krai imported over 21,800 metric tons of Chinese fruit during January and February, with citrus and pome fruits dominating these imports. Tangerines, pomelos, pears and apples also witnessed a surge in demand, with shipments more than doubling from the first two months of 2023.

Similarly, nearby Amur Oblast has observed an increase in the quantity of Chinese fruit arriving on the market. Since the start of the year, over 3,600 metric tons of Chinese fruit have been delivered to the region, of which bananas accounted for nearly one-third. Imports of bananas grew from 39 metric tons in January and February of last year to 1,073 metric tons in 2024. In addition, two very particular types of fruit — sugar apples and guavas — have recently made their first appearance in Amur Oblast.

The growth in Chinese fruit imports into Russia is attributable to the opening of the Kani-Kurgan–Heihe border checkpoint and its approval last year for the handling of fresh produce. Another logistical solution that has eased cross-border trade is the establishment of the Jiatian International Agricultural Produce Logistics Center, located in Jiamusi in northeastern China. The procedures applied at the center allow customs formalities to be completed within just one day, greatly facilitating shipments of perishable items such as fruit.

Image: Pixabay


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