During the unique international conference “Nuts of Ukraine 2022: exchange of experience with Georgia” held on November 19, 2022, in Tbilisi (Georgia), the President of the Ukrainian Nut Association Gennadiy Yudin presented the main aspects of the strategy for the development of nut growing in Ukraine for the coming years. The conference is organized by the EastFruit project supported by FAO and EBRD. Members of the Association including 156 producers, exporters, processors and breeders, will continue to expand the areas of walnut, hazelnut and almond orchards, optimize the varietal composition, and strengthen cooperation in the industry, which will allow forming export lots of high-quality nuts. According to Gennadiy Yudin, Ukrainian nut growers use the experience of their Georgian colleagues, with whom a Memorandum of Cooperation has been signed.
The three main vectors of work of Ukrainian nut growers are the cultivation of walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds. A significant increase in walnut orchards has been noted in the country over the past 5 years, in 2018-2021. There was a Horticulture Support Program in Ukraine, under which nut growers received compensation for their costs. A slight slowdown in growth rates is associated with the COVID-19 epidemic and Russia’s armed aggression in Ukraine. The Association expects that by 2030 the area planted with nuts will increase from 13 100 ha in 2022 to 30 000 ha: 9 000 ha of walnut plantations, 16 000 ha of hazelnuts and 5 000 ha of almonds.
Gennadiy Yudin singles out the production of organic nuts: “Organic nuts will be grown on at least 20% of all areas planted with nuts in the country by 2030.” According to him, the first batch of organic nuts will be exported next year. The Association plans to initiate the unification of industrial orchards, where walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds are grown organically, into an Organic nut pool.
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As for the export of walnuts, the Ukrainian Nut Association intends to focus on the following tasks:
1. Creation of varietal homogeneous batches of high-quality walnuts from industrial orchards. Orchard certification.
2. Combining industrial orchards where organic nuts are grown into the Organic nut pool.
3. Processing of homemade nuts into nut products: butter, flour, food components, etc.
4. Quality control by increasing the share of sales of shelled nuts.
The needs of Ukrainians for hazelnuts and almonds are met by imports, including those from Georgia.
According to the President of the Ukrainian Nut Association, by increasing the production area, Ukraine expects to reduce imports and provide the domestic market with its own nuts. The Association plans to create the brands “Walnuts of Ukraine” and “Almonds of Ukraine”, create registers of orchards, and certify them. The cooperation of orchards is necessary to create high-quality batches of hazelnuts and almonds and organize the processing of nuts – cleaning, drying, and sizing. The development strategy for the hazelnut and almond sector also includes the launch of five hazelnut processing plants in the main regions of Ukraine. According to Gennadiy Yudin, three enterprises are operating in Odessa, in the Khmelnytsky region, and in one of the central regions. It is also important to establish high-quality storage and systematic export of peeled hazelnuts.
To find new markets, the Ukrainian Nut Association participates in many foreign exhibitions and has created a catalog of Ukrainian nut orchards in English.
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