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Did Potato, Vegetable Production See A Rise Or Fall In 2015? Featured

22 January 2016

Russia's Ministry of Agriculture (Minselkhoz) released the results of potato and vegetable production of agricultural enterprises and farmers in 2015. On Minselkhoz' website, there are statistics from December 11, 2015, and from January 15, 2016.

According to the agency, by December 11, 7.4 million tonnes of potatoes were harvested from an area of 339 thousand hectares. For comparison, in 2014, 6.2 million tonnes of potatoes from 309.1 thousand hectares were collected. The total volume grew by 19.4% over the previous year. The average yield per hectare in 2015 was 217.4 quintals, and in 2014 - 201.7 quintals.

As the yield of potatoes increased, the volume of vegetables, on the other hand, decreased by 7.7 percent. On the same date, at the end of 2015, agriculturalists collected 3.9 million tonnes from 176.6thousand hectares. In 2014, 4.2 million tonnes from 166.1 thousand hectares. Comparing the average yield per hectare in 2015 and 2014, 221.2 quintals and 251.6 quintals were harvested, respectively. Although the planting area last season was higher, the volume per hectare decreased. The main reason was due to drought, which was experienced in several of Russia's agricultural regions: Tatarstan, Buryatia and others.

The production volume of vegetables in greenhouses were individually assessed as of November 24, 2015. In total, Russia grew 462.4 thousand tonnes of vegetables, including 333.1 thousand tonnes of cucumbers, 119.4 thousand tonnes of tomatoes, and 9.9 thousand tonnes of other vegetables grown in greenhouses.

Figures of vegetable and potato crop on open ground are vastly different from the figures provided by Minselkhoz on January 15 and those included in a previous FruitNews article about the increase in the volume of potatoes and vegetables harvested in Russia as originally published by Interfax - “Russia in 2015 Harvests Record Volume of Vegetables”. In the article, according to the data, the harvest results of private farms were 16.1 million tonnes of vegetables and 33.6 million tonnes of potatoes.

But do these numbers represent the real situation on the market? Evaluating a number of products harvested on private farms is difficult to determine and difficult to attribute to commodity production, which is part of the Russian market of fruit and vegetables. So, these data are rarely included in the actual assessment of industry experts. Curiously, in the data table for the harvest on Minselkhoz's site from January 15, the combined volume of harvested vegetables on open ground and greenhouse-grown products, as well as those grown on private farms and households, all complicate the process of accurately assessing the actually supply of local products to the Russian market. Such variations in the way the data is presented allow one source to show that there was some growth in the overall production vegetables in Russia, whereas a different grouping of the data show that the real commercial volume saw decreases.

On the other hand, there was a 6.3 percent increase in the area of open farmland for growing vegetables. If this trend continues alongside improved weather conditions next season, then it can be expected that next season's crop will see improvement. At the same time, however, greenhouse production was very low. For comparison, the annual harvest of greenhouse vegetables at agricultural enterprises and farms in 2014 reached 728,000 tonnes, and in 2013, it was 644 thousand tonnes, according to Russia's Federal State Statistics Service (ROSSTAT).

Taking into account the reduction in vegetable imports during the winter, Russian consumers are still hoping for government support programs to take effect in the greenhouse industry. In particular, providing electricity at preferential rates for greenhouse growers, as actively discussed last year, is expected to bring about improvements to the market.

FruitNews article (Russian):


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