Ukrainian apple exports again reach record high
According to EastFruit, the official statistical data of Ukraine show that the country has again set a new record in apple exports in February 2019. In spite of the fact that February is the shortest month in a year, Ukrainian farmers increased apple exports by 36% compared with January 2019 and doubled them compared with February 2018.
The total apple exports from Ukraine in February 2019 reached 11,100 tons and became a new historical record of monthly apple exports. The previous record was held for only a month – 8,200 tons of apples exported in January 2019.
«Since the beginning of the season, the Ukrainian apple exports reached 36,800 tons, an increase of 43% year-over-year. And I will be no surprise if the export volumes again reach their high in March this year", Mr. Andriy Yarmak, Economist of FAO Investment Department, said. «At present, export of Ukrainian apples, other fruits and berries to the Middle East is actively promoted by a FAO team together with the Ukrainian Horticultural Association (UHA). On March 28, 2019, we will bring the largest Ukrainian farmers to Dubai. Altogether they produce more than 50,000 tons of apples annually and will take part in meetings with the leading importers and supermarket chains of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Iraq and other countries of the region. Moreover, communication with importers has already led to establishment of a large number of new advantageous contacts in the region, growing interest in Ukrainian products and contracts of supply before the start the event", the expert added.
Nevertheless, UHA experts warn against early euphoria of new records. They note that the surplus of apples in Ukraine significantly exceeds current export volumes and domestic market demand. According to them, this is exactly why apple prices went down in Ukraine in February 2019, and price fall rates can accelerate in March, further stimulating export.
Meanwhile, active demand in the domestic market will be a positive side of a decrease in apple prices, since consumers begin to notice an essential difference between prices of apples and imported fruits, such as bananas, oranges, mandarins, table grapes and other exotics. Currently the lowest prices of bananas fixed by Ukrainian supermarket chains stand at UAH 35/kg ($1.30/kg), while the least expensive apples can be bought at lower than UAH 8/kg ($0.30/kg). More than four-fold difference between prices (almost a dollar per kg) is very essential; therefore, apples win more and more consumers. According to EastFruit, this will have a positive effect on the demand for apples within the whole next season even if apple prices grow.