EastFruit team notices that Georgia’s early watermelon import volumes practically repeat the record of 2022.
Generally, this time around all of the watermelons in Georgia are imported. The local harvest is in full swing in July. Moving towards July, some early local varieties do start to show up on the market. However, June is still the month for importing. Actually, watermelon imports peak in June.
So far, we have data for April and May. Import volumes are nearly the same as in record-breaking 2022. April-May 2023 import volume of watermelons for Georgia has amounted to roughly 2,800 tons.
In 2023, key suppliers for early watermelons to the Georgian market are Iran (77%) and Turkey (23%). Turkish suppliers speak of increased production costs and inflation driving the watermelon export prices up by 10% (FreshPlaza). This increase has been negated by strengthening Georgia’s currency over the year, which of course has helped the importers.
EastFruit talked with Georgian farmers who expect an early harvest. Interestingly, similar to the Turkish farmers, locals also speak of the increased costs. Due to higher prices for inputs such as fertilizers and chemicals during the planting season, production costs have increased by 20% in year-on-year terms.
On the bright side, the Georgian Early harvest is expected to be good and it will begin in about ten days. Due to strong demand and increased costs, local farmers expect to get ₾0.70-0.80/kg for their watermelons ($0.26-$0.30) up from ₾0.50/kg ($0.17, May 2022) in the same period last year.
Interestingly, Iran is reported (didbaniran.ir) to have banned the exports of watermelons. This might help the Georgian prices in June. However, more Turkish trucks are showing up in the local market.
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