August 9, 2014 in Business

Russian sanctions hit region’s apples, pears

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Customers look at shelves with imported fruit and vegetables at a supermarket in Novosibirsk, about 1,750 miles east of Moscow, on Thursday.
(Full-size photo)

YAKIMA – The Russian ban on U.S. farm products affects some pears and apples grown in Washington just as the harvest is beginning.

Russia was the state’s third-largest export market for pears, so those growers will have to move quickly to find new buyers, Mark Powers of the Northwest Horticultural Council in Yakima told the Yakima Herald-Republic.

Growers sold $23 million worth of last season’s pears and apples to Russia, Powers said in a story Friday.

Russia took about 550,000 boxes of pears worth about $11 million, said Jeff Correa of the Northwest Pear Bureau in Portland. This year’s crop is expected to be about 19 million boxes, down from a record 21.6 million last year.

“Absorbing (550,000 boxes) is more doable for us than last season, when we had a record crop,” Correa said.

Russia took 598,000 boxes of apples last year worth about $12 million, said Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington Apple Commission.

In contrast, Mexico is the top importer of both U.S. apples and pears, taking an average of 11.5 million boxes of apples and 3.1 million boxes of pears per year.

Russia is not a large market for Washington, according to the state Department of Agriculture. It was 19th on the export list last year, importing $10 million worth of Washington food and farm products. That’s less than 1 percent of the state’s $8.8 billion in agriculture exports.

The top four commodities shipped to Russia were fish, apples, pears and poultry, said department spokesman Mike Louisell.

In contrast, Washington exported $1.6 billion in agricultural products to Japan, the state’s No. 1 export market.

© Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email