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Georgia starts importing potatoes as local stocks are running out

EastFruit analysts once again pay attention to the potato market in Georgia. Recall that Samtskhe-Javakheti, a key producing region, had a poor harvest this season, which led to a jump in potato prices. It has been clear for more than two months that Georgia will have to rely on imports to meet local demand. The country has begun to import, but the volumes are small and prices are still rising. This is likely to encourage imports more. Local stakeholders shared their views with EastFruit.

Currently, traders in the wholesale market sell potatoes at an average of 2.00 GEL/kg ($0.74). Both imported and local potatoes are priced the same. As our research shows, the average farm price ranges from 1.50 to 1.70 GEL/kg ($0.55-0.63). The average wholesale price, according to EastFruit price monitoring, which includes prices from both traders and farmers, is 1.80 GEL/kg ($0.66), up 6% from previous weeks.

Official trade data for October show that Georgia imported 530 tonnes of potatoes. The main suppliers are Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Armenia. According to our estimates, the volume of imports in October is less than 1% of the Samtskhe-Javakheti crop. Data for November is not yet available, but the EastFruit team also notes imported potatoes in local wholesale markets in November.

Local stakeholders say that high prices have made imports possible, but imports have not yet managed to keep prices down. Local stocks are running out fast and further price increases are possible. Imports will no doubt rise in the coming months as the end of the season approaches. The next major potato harvest in Georgia will start in May 2023. Until then, neighboring countries will have opportunities to export potatoes to Georgia.

EastFruit

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