Border issues concern Ukrainians

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Tom Joyce

BY TOM JOYCE

@tomfruitnet

Border issues concern Ukrainians

Ukrainian companies attempting to send vegetables to Russia have been hit hard by border closures and tougher inspection procedures

Border issues concern Ukrainians

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On Wednesday, Russia closed its borders to Ukrainian goods, according to Fruit-Inform, with Ukrainian transport companies reporting that vehicles loaded with Ukrainian produce were unable to receive customs permits.

The move brought traffic in the neutral territory between the two countries to a standstill, as queues of trucks reportedly stretched for miles.

Analysts at Fruit-Inform suggested that Ukrainian suppliers of greenhouse cucumbers would be the first to suffer from the border closure.

Large greenhouse farms in Ukraine generally export more than half of their cucumbers to Russia, they said, warning that the situation could cause prices to collapse in Ukraine's domestic market as a result of oversupply.

However, on Thursday, reports surfaced that Ukrainian goods were starting to be cleared at the Russian border, although the cargo was being fully inspected and drivers were being required to hold international passports.

Full cargo checks demand that trucks be fully unloaded, while customs clearance procedures can take 24 hours or more, which can negatively affect the quality of the vegetables.

"Representatives of greenhouse farms are rather agitated about the situation," Fruit-Inform reported. "Firstly, the quality may significantly worsen after such cargo inspection procedures. Secondly, they fear that exports to Russia may again stop in any moment."

A similar situation occurred last August, when Russia introduced tougher inspections on Ukrainian fruit and vegetables, leading to export volumes of greenhouse cucumbers from the country falling to a mere fifth of the previous year's level.

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