Apple growers have begun looking for a replacement for the Russian market

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Due to the war in Ukraine and the difficult possibilities for transporting that fruit to Russia, apple producers in Serbia have started looking for new markets for huge stocks that have not yet been sold.

The representative of the agricultural cooperative “Voćar” from Slankamen, Nikola Kotarac, said that they started looking for new markets, instead of the Russian one, until transport is difficult, so two trucks with 40,000 kilograms will be shipped to India these days.

“We have another 2,500 tons of apples in the refrigerators, where they can be preserved until June, and after that they start to lose good quality. That quantity makes 70 percent of the crop and most of it should have been exported to Russia,” said Kotarac.

He added that the representatives of “Voćar” will travel to the fair in Berlin next month in order to find new buyers for apples and closer markets, because India is quite far away and transportation is expensive.

Kotarac said that the problem with exports to Russia is not only long transport, but also the fall in the value of the ruble, which reduces the price of apples.

That fruit is exported at a price of about 40 dinars, which significantly reduced earnings, because two years ago it was sold at a price of 70-80 dinars per kilogram.

Let us remind you, last year, Serbia realized a foreign exchange inflow of about 90 million dollars on the export of apples to Russia.

Zoran Keserović, a professor at the Faculty of Agriculture in Novi Sad, said that even without the Ukrainian crisis this year, he expected problems in placing apples on foreign markets because intensive plantations of that fruit are being raised in Russia in the Caucasus, and large unsold stocks remain in Europe.

“The costs of apple production in Serbia are high and cannot be measured with the costs of energy and labor in the Caucasus,” said Keserović.

He assessed that the state of Serbia must increase subsidies for fruit production, including apples, if it wants to preserve it and be competitive with production in other countries.

Last year, Serbia placed about 120,000 tons of 180,000 tons of exported apples on the Russian market, Keserovic said.

According to him, Poland will use huge quantities of apples for processing because it has the capacity, and for now it is uncertain how and whether Serbia will find a way to use the entire last year’s crop of that fruit, 021 writes.