Global Update: Exports to Russia Leaves New Zealand in Stress

By Hari Yellina
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Pic supplied

Although it is not illegal to sell food to Russia, many New Zealand exporters are avoiding the market in protest of the invasion of Ukraine. Stopping shipments to former clients, on the other hand, may be highly complicated and have a significant impact on firms. Freshco, a fruit and vegetable exporter, loaded seven huge containers full of apples aboard a vessel at Napier in March. The ship was on its way to Russia. Midway through unloading, Freshco partner John Mangan learned that New Zealand is placing sanctions on Russia as a result of the Ukraine conflict. “Three of [the containers] were already on board and sailing, and four of them we were able to get off,” Mangan says. “Since then, we’ve fully stopped.”

New Zealand’s second largest export to Russia is apples and pears. They were worth $19.8 million in 2020, significantly less than our $115 million in butter exports. Freshco’s Russian commerce was worth up to $6 million, according to Mangan, but the economic situation caused by Russia’s assault on Ukraine has made it difficult to continue doing business. It’s been three months since the conflict began, and countries all across the world have begun slapping billion-dollar penalties. Companies ranging from McDonald’s to Fonterra have begun self-imposed boycotts of the country. However, not everyone has taken that decision.

Bostock, New Zealand’s largest organic apple grower, continues to export fruit to Russia. According to owner John Bostock, the corporation condemns Putin’s administration but supports the delivery of “humanitarian food shipments” to Russia and Ukraine. It’s been three months since the conflict began, and countries all across the world have begun slapping billion-dollar penalties. Companies ranging from McDonald’s to Fonterra have begun self-imposed boycotts of the country. However, not everyone has taken that decision. Bostock, New Zealand’s largest organic apple grower, continues to export fruit to Russia. According to owner John Bostock, the corporation condemns Putin’s administration but supports the delivery of “humanitarian food shipments” to Russia and Ukraine.


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