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Apple exports from Georgia are still small, but wholesale prices are not declining yet

EastFruit analysts note that Georgian apple exports are smaller than last year. The country harvested a record large harvest this year – about 130 000 tonnes of apples, which is about 80% more than in the previous season. Notably, prices on the Georgian wholesale market are still high, but a survey of market participants shows that downward pressure may increase soon.

According to official data, Georgia exported 840 tonnes of apples in October 2022, which is 14% less than a year earlier. The value of exports also fell from $630 000 in October 2021 to $550 000 in 2022. 100% of exported apples were supplied to Russia.

The main reason for the decline in apple exports is the weakening of demand from the northern neighbor. The latter, of course, relates to the unjust war against Ukraine. Many Russian citizens have resettled in Georgia, which has increased local demand to some extent, but this is unlikely to be enough.

Another important reason for the decline in exports of Georgian apples is the high competition with other fruits that are currently widely available on global markets. Usually, these are citrus fruits. There is competition every year, but the effect seems to be larger in the face of declining demand. It is believed that there is a favorable window for the export of Georgian apples in February and March.

Meanwhile, the EastFruit price monitoring tool shows that apple prices in Georgia’s wholesale markets are not falling, which would be reasonable given the record high harvest and weak exports. As EastFruit research shows, traders’ prices are supported by several factors:

  • The harvesting is not finished yet, there are quite a few apples left on the trees
  • Large volumes of harvested apples are stored in local warehouses, so the current supply on the market is not so high.

Market participants interviewed fear that many small farmers who cannot afford to store apples long will be forced to sell their stocks, exerting pressure on current prices. Exports are likely to remain lower in November as respondents report that suppliers are mainly working with the local market because importers charge too low prices. The latter is not surprising, since other countries sell apples at lower prices.

Farmers give an interesting insight into current prices. They report that while traders’ prices may not have been affected, their prices have declined year-on-year. Georgian farmers sell apples at 0.80-1.30 GEL/kg (about $0.30-0.50). Prices vary by caliber and are lowest when mixing different calibers.

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