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Exporters are not satisfied with the quality of Georgian mandarins this season

According to the Georgian team of EastFruit, mandarin harvesting season in Georgia is in full swing. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, from September 1 to December 12, 2021, Georgia exported 22.8 thousand tonnes of mandarins (+ 49% compared to the same period in 2020) worth $11.2 million (+ 53%).

Exports of mandarins from Georgia intensified in the second half of November. Traders associate high interest in Georgian products with the uncertainty in the market due to the statement of Rospotrebnadzor regarding the import of mandarins from Turkey.

The wholesale price of Georgian mandarins is comparable to last year’s and fluctuates between 0.50 and 1.00 GEL ($0.15-0.30/kg) depending on the caliber. Standard mandarins +50 are sold at 1 GEL ($0.30/kg). There are also high-quality Turkish mandarins on the Georgian market at 2 GEL/kg ($ 0.65). Mandarins are exported to the traditional markets of Russia (15.5 thousand tonnes exported this season), Armenia (4.2 thousand tonnes) and Ukraine (2.2 thousand tonnes).

According to traders, this year’s fears were confirmed – the harvest is large, but the share of small-caliber fruits is also big. Therefore, to form an export grade batch of 20 tonnes, 30-35 tonnes of mandarins must be purchased. There are frequent cases of mixing small fruits with standard ones in an attempt to sell small caliber at the best price, which led to the worsening reputation of Georgian mandarins. Thus, the wholesale price of Georgian mandarins in Russia is much lower than the average – 50 RUB/kg ($0.68/kg).

The concentration of production in households that do not seek to establish commercial production and see mandarins as an additional income without any investment also complicates quality control. In addition, the state makes additional payments to concentrate producers of 0.1 GEL ($0.03) per kilogram so that they can buy citrus fruits from the population at higher prices. The price of mandarins for processing is 0.20 GEL/kg ($0.065). According to Irakli Oniani, head of the coordination headquarters for the harvesting of mandarins of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Adjara, about 4 thousand tonnes of mandarins out of the expected 10 thousand tonnes have already been processed for concentrate.

The main variety produced in Georgia is the late-ripening Unshiu broadleaf, also known as Satsuma, which exporters say is characterized by a low sugar content (Brix 8) and a small caliber (less than 40) this year. In total, Georgia expects to harvest 70,000 tonnes of mandarins this year.

EastFruit

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