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Georgia imports record volume of tomatoes from Turkey

Georgia imported unusually large volume of tomatoes in August. Imports amounted to 570 tons, which is 13 times higher than the average import volumes in August for 2014-2020 and 27 times more than the average for August for the last 3 years. 96% of the imported tomatoes were supplied by Turkey. The average import price was $320 per ton (CIF).

So far, the volume of tomato imports this year is 21-25% higher than in the same period in January-August the last two years. The high imports are associated with a reduction in tomato production in 2021, which followed an oversupply of local tomatoes in 2020.

In 2020, Georgia had a record high tomato supply of 87,000 tons, driven by an increase in local production to 75,000 tons. As demand was weakened by the pandemic, the increased supply resulted in the lowest prices in 2016-2020.

According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, in 2020 Georgian farmers sold tomatoes at $260 per ton average. It is 25% lower than the average price for 2016-2019. Obviously, growers were desperate about such low prices. This resulted in fewer crops and lower production in 2021. It seems that this time Georgian growers have cut production volumes more than they should, which has made room for imports.

What’s interesting, market participants also report worsening climate and its negative impact on yields and, as a result, a decrease in the quality of open field tomatoes in some regions.

Overall, prices are much better now compared to 2020. Last week, Georgian growers sold open field tomatoes by 31-39% more expensive  than a year earlier.

Georgia will switch to greenhouse production in October. The current situation on the open field tomato market will not affect greenhouse tomatoes in any way. Greenhouse production will proceed as the growers originally planned.

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