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Currant and sea buckthorn boom in Kyrgyzstan

According to EastFruit, in the spring there is a sharp increase in requests for the purchase of blackcurrant and sea buckthorn seedlings from Kyrgyzstan, where many farmers are becoming interested in growing fruits.

Traditionally predominantly livestock farmers in Kyrgyzstan have discovered good opportunities in recent years to improve their standard of living by growing fruits and vegetables. Compared to such Central Asian countries as Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, or Kazakhstan, the production of fruits and vegetables in Kyrgyzstan is not yet well developed. Therefore, investment opportunities in this country are now relatively good – after all, domestic prices for many types of fruits and berries are higher than prices in neighboring countries.

Interestingly, the choice of many novice investors falls on the easiest crops to grow, such as blackcurrant and sea buckthorn. Their prices in the domestic market are quite high because people willingly buy them in bulk for the production of jams at home. Also, a big incentive for the cultivation of sea buckthorn is the recent trend for sea buckthorn tea, which is offered in local restaurants.

Farmers from Jalal-Abad and Issyk-Kul regions show the greatest interest in growing blackcurrant. Also, many requests come from the Osh and Chui regions. Sea buckthorn is most interesting for farmers in the Issyk-Kul region, where the factor of many tourists in the summer is added to the above demand factor. The farmers of the Chui and Osh regions are also interested in sea buckthorn. Recently, farmers from the mountainous Naryn region, where sea buckthorn grows wild and has long been consumed by local residents, have also begun to show interest in this berry crop.

At the same time, varieties and knowledge about modern technologies for growing these berries remain relatively limited. Therefore, farmers are increasingly turning to experts from other countries in the region for advice.

We also note that Kyrgyz farmers are beginning to show interest in other berries such as raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and even blueberries.

However, analysts warn that a sharp expansion of the areas planted with sea buckthorn and currants can lead to a rapid saturation of the domestic market, which will result in a sharp drop in prices. Therefore, when planning this business, you need to take into account that prices are likely to be much lower than now, and product quality will come to the fore.

Besides, the domestic demand for these berries, which are used exclusively after processing into jam or for tea, may fall in the near future if the income level of the country’s residents continues to grow.

The third factor is that there is no industry for shock freezing of berries and fruits in the country, which aggravates the prospects of the berry industry. After all, Kyrgyzstan is relatively far from the main sales markets, so it will not be easy for exporters to sell fresh berries. Obviously, given the too-high level of prices for berries in the country and the too-small volumes of their production in Kyrgyzstan, it is also somewhat premature to launch freezing there.

Recall that EastFruit recently held an online conference “Quick freezing of berries, fruits, and vegetables 2023: a market overview, investments, prospects”, the recording of which is available at this link (in Russian).

EastFruit

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