According to EastFruit analysts, the price of cabbage has almost doubled in Ukraine over the past week. Most growers and traders offered it at prices ranging from 5 to 8 UAH/kg ($ 0.19-0.30/kg) in bulk at the end of November, but by December 10, 2021 prices jumped to 8-10 UAH/kg ($0.30-0.37/kg).
As a result of the sharp rise in prices, importers began to consider purchases from neighboring countries. Since cabbage is a specific product consumed in large volumes in a small number of Eastern European countries, and its prices in Belarus and Russia are also record-breaking, Ukrainian importers were forced to start purchasing it in Poland.
Today, small wholesale batches cabbage in Poland is sold at 0.75 PLN, which is equivalent to 5 UAH/kg. With a large wholesale batch, a lower price can be negotiated. Therefore, high-quality Polish cabbage can enter the Ukrainian market at this price. Moreover, the participants of the Ukrainian market believe that prices will continue to grow.
What caused such a sharp rise in prices for cabbage in Ukraine? Experts believe that it is the “domino effect”.
“The prices for cabbage in Russia keep growing rapidly for several weeks in a row, because the local market is experiencing an acute shortage. Accordingly, the average price is close to $0.6/kg, which is twice higher than in Ukraine and 5 times higher than the price in Russia at the same time last year! Naturally, Russia is trying to import cabbage from all possible supplying countries, primarily from Belarus. However, due to the growing demand from Russia, prices for cabbage are also growing rapidly there. Due to the drought in Belarus, its own cabbage harvest was moderate. Accordingly, Belarus began to buy cabbage in Ukraine to cover the needs of Russian importers, which pushed cabbage price up in Ukraine,” explains Andriy Yarmak, Economist at the Investment Centre, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The average wholesale price for cabbage In Ukraine is now 4 times higher than last year. This means that the already record high price for “borsch set” of vegetables in Ukraine keeps rising even faster. Uzbekistan is experiencing a similar problem with the prices of vegetables, and cabbage prices are also hitting records due to an increase in its export to the Russian market.
Now, if Ukraine starts large-scale purchases of cabbage in Poland, prices may rise there as well. There is also a positive side – the supply of cabbage has grown sharply lately at the largest fruit and vegetable trading platform in the region, EFTradePlatform. It seems that growers are satisfied with the rise in prices and are trying to lock in profits. They sell cabbage with very good margins, without having to bear the costs of long-term storage and the risk of losses.
The other part of growers is waiting for higher prices, believing that the limit for the growth of cabbage prices is far from being exhausted. Some of the vegetable growers we interviewed believe that prices for cabbage on the Russian market can reach unprecedented $1/kg in January-February! The expectations of Ukrainian growers are much less ambitious – they are ready to start selling cabbage from modern vegetable storages when prices reach $0.5/kg.
At the same time, do not forget that the first batches of early cabbage from the southern regions of Central Asia will become available on the markets of Russia and Ukraine in March. This can lead to stabilization and even lowering of prices. Uzbek growers have already announced their intention to significantly expand the areas planted with early cabbage.
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