Ukraine likely to become a leading global apple market player
According to Mr. Andriy Yarmak, Economist of the FAO Investment Center, Ukraine stands a good chance to become one of the leading apple suppliers in the global market.
“Speaking with apple business scientists and experts during MTAS FruitPRO Conference in Poland, I’ve made certain that the future of the Ukrainian apple sector is very promising. Ukrainian growers have not realized this fact yet. As, just three years ago the words of Ukraine to be exporting apples to the EU made a lot of people smile. Now it is an undeniable fact,” he says.
The expert sees climate to be one of the main advantages of Ukraine, as its conditions are optimal for growing apples. In particular, the majority of Ukrainian regions have 50% lower rainfall compared to Poland. Thus, Ukrainian growers have an opportunity to control plant protection more effectively as well as ensure better taste qualities of fruits.
“Moreover, Ukraine has higher variation between day and night temperatures in most regions. This allows growing apples with a magnificent color, which is hard to be achieved in Poland,” he adds.
Mr. Yarmak emphasizes that the Ukrainian climate enables to produce a wide spectrum of apple varieties thanks to warm and sunny summer as well as longer growing season. In addition, anti-hail nets applied in Ukrainian orchards protect efficiently against both hail and sunburn. At the same time, applying anti-hail nets in Polish farms delays vegetation period and ripening time significantly.
“Ukrainian apple orchards can have yields at least equal to those of Polish ones. Moreover, using modern optical sorting and post-harvest handling technologies, Ukrainian growers will have better marketability of their apples,” Mr. Yarmak says.
Besides, Mr. Yarmak is confident that Ukraine is able to export apples over long distances; therefore, Ukrainian suppliers can successfully enter new markets, inclusive of non-European countries
“For instance, Polish growers are almost incapable to export apples over long distances as their fruits lack firmness due to the climate conditions. Meanwhile, firmness is not a problem for Ukrainian growers. In addition, Ukraine’s geographical location is more beneficial for trading with the Middle East, as Ukraine imports many citrus fruits from there. Counter flows can help save on logistics,” the expert says.
Meanwhile, Mr. Yarmak does not see Ukraine’s main advantage in labor costs, but in land value.
“In order to start business in Poland it is necessary to purchase land, which value has been growing at rapid-fire pace there. Correspondingly, total investments per a hectare are much lower in Ukraine, while production efficiency is substantially higher,” Mr. Yarmak concludes.