Russia has cut back significantly on domestic fresh produce growing in recent years, filling the gap with increased imports, new figures show.
The area under vegetable cultivation fell nearly 20 per cent from 2004 to 2010, to 759,000 hectares, with yield declining by 11 per cent in the same period, according to the Dutch Product Board for Horticulture.
Fruit production declined even more sharply, by 43 per cent in area and by 37 per cent in production, with the area under apple and pear orchards falling by half.
At the same time, vegetable imports rose 91 per cent over the period, while fruit imports rose 86 per cent. The main supplier countries were Turkey, China, the Netherlands, Poland and Israel.
Published on 11 January, the Government's long-awaited 'A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment' brings together a number of policy strands into a single framework that will impact many sectors, not least fresh produce, over the coming decades.
At the Oxford Farming Conference, whose theme was "embracing change", Defra secretary Michael Gove expanded on what a post-Brexit UK agriculture and land-use policy will look like and how it will impact farmers and growers.