The coronovirus revealed the absolute dependence of the Far East on imports of fresh vegetables and greenery


Vegetable growing in protected soil in Russia is developing at a striking rate. According to the calculations of Growth Technology, for 2019 the growth of gross collection by industrial and farm greenhouses has increased by 15%. Periods of mass arrival of products grown by Russian greenhouses in retail continues to expand and is already close to a truly continuous cycle. A wide variety of fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, leaf salads and spicy herbs are now available to residents of large cities almost all year round, including due to growing competition among producers, which keep prices.

The situation is fundamentally different in the Far East. Unlike the European part of Russia, greenhouse vegetable growing in the Far East Federal District has been stagnating for many years in a row: old Soviet greenhouses either barely support production or are dismantled and bankrupt. Only a few companies have been able to find funds for global reconstruction or new large-scale construction. Tariffs for energy and electricity in the Far East Federal District are much higher than in other districts, with the most negative impact on the financial sustainability of energy-intensive greenhouse enterprises.

With very few exceptions, at least 10 months of the year, 90% to 95% of the Far East's grosseries are filled with Chinese imports, the environmental safety of which cannot always be proven. But the problem of critical dependence of the Far East regions on Chinese supplies became especially clear today, when China tightened quarantine control over all supplies due to the coronovirus pandemic. Restricting imports of vegetables and greenery by the greenhouse group in February, 2020 resulted in a sharp increase in prices of fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, leaf salads and greenery, 1.5 times and higher, in just a few days. Local supervisory authorities promise to promptly resolve issues with Chinese imports across the borders of Primorsky Krai, Amur Oblast, and Transbaikalia.

According to Growth Technology, such decisions cannot fundamentally change the balance of the Far Eastern fresh vegetable market, its import dependence and, more importantly, guarantee the safety of the population from both Chinese infections and pesticide toxicity. The main task of the Administration of the Far East should be systemic changes facilitating the inflow of investments into the protected soil industry and successful operation of vegetable greenhouses.

Detailed information on the status and prospects of the greenhouse industry in Russia as a whole and the regions in particular can be found in the study "Greenhouse business of Russia - 2020. Results of 2019. Forecasts till 2023".