Russia and Afghanistan in possible gas-for-fruit exchange
With Russia last year having banned food imports from some of its major suppliers like the EU, the ex-Soviet country is now discussing a deal with Afghanistan to swap natural gas for fruit, website Fruitnews.info reported.
The story said that according to officials from Afghanistan's Chamber of Commerce, the two countries have discussed a bilateral trade agreement whereby Russia would provide natural gas in exchange for Afghani fruit products.
The exact terms of the agreement have not yet been established.
Fruitnews.info reported that Afghani Chamber of Commerce deputy chairman Khan Jan Alokozay said the organization was in favor of the initiative, and that the deal would also give Afghanistan an additional trade partner when traditionally its trade relationships were limited to neighbouring countries.
Struggling vegetable producers
The website also reported that Russian vegetable growers had been struggling with rising production costs since last summer, and have asked authorities to prolong preferential lending by a minimum of two years to increase their competitiveness against countries like Iran and Turkey.
Fertilizer costs in particular are said to have risen dramatically, with National Union of Vegetable Producers president Sergei Korolev reportedly saying ammonia nitrate prices in some areas had risen from 12,000 rubles (US$180) per-metric ton last summer to 15,000 rubles (US$230) now.
Fruitnews.info also reported that greenhouse vegetable growers were hoping for government subsidies in the form of reduced electricity costs to further boost competitiveness.