IS EXPORTING RUSSIAN CHAGA A NORMAL BUSINESS?
By Victor Smirnov
Having recently spoken to one of our customers about exporting chaga, I was surprised by his attempts to justify his demand for a lower price by saying that he could buy "the same chaga" much cheaper elsewhere because there are so many other suppliers of chaga in Russia.
Well, I said ok, please try, but I think you will come back soon. And two weeks later he did come back, and this time he was more concerned about our ability to export chaga than about the price. The change in his attitude was very clear to me. And with this small article I would like to explain to all those foreign companies that may be planning to import Russian chaga why they should not be carried away by the promises of sellers of cheap chaga. In order to understand this, one should be aware of the real complexity of the chaga business for Russian exporters.
When I see a lot of advertisements on the Internet from Russian individuals offering "cheap" chaga for export, I wonder how many of them can actually deliver what they promise.
In many cases it turns out that most of these people either have no idea how to handle the export process, or they are just middlemen and cannot answer any direct questions. For example, you can ask them about the delivery time and whether they have the necessary documents for export.
And even for small orders like 1kg or so. Because in Russia you cannot send food internationally by mail if you are a private person. And chaga is not just a food in Russia, it is a medicinal raw material.
So even for companies, exporting chaga has become a difficult and burdensome task... with all the documents to obtain and bureaucracy to endure...
In fact, very few Russian companies are able to successfully export their chaga products. Why not? Because the chaga mushroom (Inonotus Obliquus) is considered a medical raw material in Russia. Therefore, an export licence is required. And it is a real challenge!
The following is a list of steps that a Russian exporter must take to obtain an export licence for chaga.
procedures for obtaining a licence to export chaga to russia.
1. Applying to the Russian Ministry of Forestry for a lease agreement for a plot of forest land to collect chaga mushrooms.
2. A team of inspectors from the Ministry of Forestry will examine the forest land in terms of the available quantity of chaga mushrooms. The estimation of chaga reserves made by these inspectors will determine the limit of the amount of chaga that can be exported.
3. Application for participation in the auction organised by the Ministry of Forestry.
4. After the auction the exporter should pass the state registration.
5. Conclusion of a commercial contract with the buyer (foreign company).
6. Submission of the following documents to the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (commercial contract, company registration documents, a document confirming the company's right to own the chaga, lease agreement).
7. After approval by the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources, the exporter should submit these documents to the Ministry of Natural Resources in Moscow.
8. Drug control authorities.
9. Obtaining a permit to export chaga.
10. Applying to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment of the Russian Federation for an export licence.
11. After receiving the export licence, the exporter should have the chaga certified.
As a result, after 2-3 months and about 3,000 usd, the exporter has just received a permit to export a certain amount of chaga to a specified single foreign customer. However, he still needs to obtain the necessary documents to ensure the delivery of the chaga.
We can't publish the list of these documents because they have some legal technicalities and we don't want to help our competitors.
For the above reasons, the business environment for exporting chaga has narrowed down to just three or four exporters, and the real exporter knows the real price of chaga. Of course, the question of quality is also very important.
Of course, it is not advisable to trust all the offers on the Internet... It is not a bad idea to ask for some copies of documents proving successful export shipments in the past.
Our company has been in the chaga export business for almost 20 years and can arrange export delivery within 7-10 days. Therefore, buying chaga or chaga extract from us is safe and fast.
Regarding chaga extract: did you know that only authorised manufacturers can actually produce it?