Are lessons learnt? The Ukrainian potato season 2020/21 gathering pace
Growers from the southern regions of Ukraine say of active ongoing harvesting campaign of early potatoes, and their supply is gradually growing in the Ukrainian market. Wholesale companies and farmers say of currently no problems with sales through either supermarket chains, or at wholesale and retail markets; therefore, pricing now depends only on the supply and demand balance.
According to Fruit-Inform, current prices of early potatoes vary between UAH 9-11/kg or $0.33-0.31/kg, a decline of 23% year-on-year. But, with a glance at instability in the past potato season, will a price deceasing trend remain in effect in the current year?
The Ukrainian potato season 2019/20 was the most unprecedented over the whole history of Frut-Inform’s monitoring. Imports were forecast to total 21,000 tons at maximum in its beginning but turned out to exceed 500,000 tons. Russia and Belarus were the main suppliers, as prices on those markets took averagely a half or even a third of those fixed in Ukraine. Moreover, Ukrainian market players started importing potatoes in the very beginning of the season – June 2019.
What was the reason for such a cardinal change in the situation in one of the most important segments of the Ukrainian fresh produce market?
According to growers, their yields were averagely 9% lower in 2019 due to extreme weather conditions during potato growing. Abundant rainfall simply destroyed a part of potato plantations in the first half of summer. Then drought negatively affected fields without irrigation. In addition, accounting for more than 90% of Ukrainian total potato production, small family farms did not use high-quality seed potatoes and plant protection products. As a result, despite huge imports, total supply of potatoes went down by at least 8% in Ukraine in the past season, according to Fruit-Inform’s estimates.
As regards a new season, there are some positive changes. The results of Fruit-Inform’s survey of Ukrainian potato farmers, the supply of potatoes may grow by at least 5% in 2020.Thus, there will be a stronger barrier against relatively inexpensive imports, and prices will unlikely set new records in the Ukrainian market.
More detailed information about the Ukrainian potato production in the season 2020/21 is available in the annual study “The Ukrainian apple, vegetable & potato production and price forecast for the season 2020/21”, with Bayer Ukraine, one of the leading companies of the sector, as its General Partner.
To learn more about the study, please feel free to contact Fruit-Inform:
Mr. Ievgen Kuzin