HomeNewsExports of potatoes from Ukraine to Belarus have stopped, but can be resumed

Exports of potatoes from Ukraine to Belarus have stopped, but can be resumed

Something to note at the beginning of the 2021/22 potato season was the exports of Ukrainian potatoes to Belarus, which EastFruit wrote about. However, later exports were stopped for technical reasons, that is, upon the establishment of non-tariff barriers to exports.

Given the record low prices for potatoes in Moldova, which has also traditionally been a sales market for Ukrainian potatoes, as well as continuing problems with access to the EU potato market, potato prices in Ukraine were the lowest of all countries in the region, as the potato harvest was quite high.

During the 17th international conference “Fruits and Vegetables of Ukraine 2021. New Investment Opportunities”, Vladyslava Magaletska, Head of the State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection, informed that the state authorities know about the problems of Ukrainian potato growers and are looking for solutions to them.

In particular, Vladyslava Magaletska wrote on her Facebook page: “At the end of this year, our neighbors (Belarus, EastFruit) established new standards for the exports of Ukrainian potatoes. Now we are working on an agreement with colleagues to extend the exports on mutually beneficial terms. We are also negotiating the possibility of exporting Ukrainian potatoes to the EU countries. This issue was also raised during my visit to Brussels. I am convinced that Ukrainian potatoes will soon be consumed in many European countries!”- said the head of the State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection.

Read also: Potato market in Eastern Europe – an overview of prices, trends, and prospects

Experts note that access to potato sales markets alone will not be enough to boost Ukrainian exports. “Unfortunately, the main problem of Ukrainian potatoes is not a lack of access to markets, but a low quality compared to potatoes grown in EU countries. I have been saying this since 2010, when I helped create the Association of Potato Producers of Ukraine. Then we gathered the largest potato growers of the country and buyers of the leading supermarket chains in Ukraine. Even these relatively low quality standards suggested by supermarket chains were rejected by the majority of Ukrainian potato growers. According to my estimates, losses for the country from low-quality potatoes on the shelves of Ukrainian supermarkets reach UAH 10 billion a year. Instead of billions of dollars in losses, potatoes could bring the country considerable export earnings,” says Andriy Yarmak, economist at the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

By the way, the conclusions of the FAO expert are confirmed by practice. During the conference “Fruits and Vegetables of Ukraine 2021. New Investment Opportunities”, Thomas Carpenter, an Irish potato grower who recently started growing potatoes in Ukraine, shared the results of his work in the country. In particular, his potatoes turned out to be 10 times better than that of most Ukrainian professional potato growers, due to adherence to all elements of the cultivation technology, harvesting potatoes with high-quality equipment and correct handling.

In the first 10 months of 2021, Belarus imported about 9.5 thousand tonnes of marketable potatoes from Ukraine – 5.5 times more than in the same period in 2020 and became the main supplier of potatoes to Belarus.

According to EastFruit analysts, marketable potatoes are now becoming a very popular commodity of international trade again and are among the top 10 fruit and vegetables in terms of exports growth. At the same time, in recent years, Ukraine has been turning into a net importer of potatoes, which means that it is losing the competition, primarily in the struggle for quality.


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