Despite low prices for apples in Ukraine and Moldova and a failure to sell outdated apple varieties such as Idared in Poland, the first news began to appear on the market, which can be cautiously considered somewhat positive for farmers. Andriy Yarmak, economist at the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), talked about them at the 17th international conference “Fruits and Vegetables of Ukraine-2021. New Investment Opportunities”, which took place on December 2-3, 2021. The event was organized by the project “APK-Inform: Vegetables and Fruits” with the media support of the EastFruit International Platform and the Ukrainian Horticultural Association (UHA).
The first good news for the apple business in Eastern Europe can be considered a sharp rise in apple prices in Iran despite rumors about a decrease in the apple harvest there. Indeed, Iran continues to increase its apple exports. And, as we wrote in the analytical review of the apple market #freshapplecrisis, Iran is one of the main reasons for the difficult situation on the market.
The second good news is the high rate of apple sales in the first months of the season. This gives hope that the largest producing countries will enter the second half of the season with lower apple stocks than in the 2020/21 season. Then, apple growers in Moldova were forced to sell apples in spring and summer for processing into apple juice concentrate at the lowest prices. Apple prices collapsed not only in Moldova then, but also in Ukraine, Russia and Poland, but this did not help to intensify the demand, since berries and other summer fruits became available on the market. This season, reports of high sales rates come from Moldova, Ukraine, Italy and even from Iran.
The third good news is reports of a lower-than-expected apple harvest in the US. This could ease the pressure on apple prices in lucrative markets for apple exporters, such as the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Also, according to Andriy Yarmak, one should not discount the fact that apple prices in Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries this season are higher than a year earlier. This means that apples from Moldova and Ukraine can be supplied to these countries, which have imported very few apples in recent years.
He also noticed that the UAE is now buying more apples than usual, because Dubai is now hosting the largest exhibition in the world – Expo 2020 (postponed for a year due to COVID-19 pandemic). This exhibition attracts many tourists from all over the world and will last until the end of March 2022. The UAE’s demand for apples will significantly increase during this time, and this is an excellent opportunity for apple exporters from Ukraine, who have shown their potential in this market.
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