EastFruit highlights that Georgia has exported almost all of its hazelnuts. Product has been practically the country’s only major export product from fruits, nuts, and vegetables in the last 12 months. Numbers from this season were significantly worse than the previous one. However, there were some important improvements.
Production has dropped from record-high 46 thousand tons (in-shell volume) in 2021 to 33 thousand tons in 2022 according to GeoStat’s preliminary data. Two key factors were highlighted in this regard: heavy rains and the return of the brown stinkbug.
Given the drop in production, reduced exports should not be surprising. According to EastFruit’s estimates based on the trade data, almost all of the stock hazelnuts have already been exported. Some amounts may be left for the fulfillment of contracts. Processors have stopped buying, as the leftover quantities are very low, making the exports unprofitable.
Revenues from hazelnut exports through August-May sum up to $86 million this season, about 25% less than in the previous season. It is worth noting that the previous season’s export value may be a bit inflated due to the large number of rejections at EU borders. Rejected hazelnuts are usually returned, refiltered, and reshipped to the EU. So, some nuts may show up more than once in the export statistics.
Apart from the lower production volume, which would automatically mean lower revenues even if the prices stayed the same, price changes have also negatively affected the revenue stream. Kernels, which are the main part of hazelnut exports, generating 83% of revenues in the 2022-2023 season, got on average 9% cheaper for the importers in $ terms. The average price in August-May went down from $5.60/kg in the previous season to $5.00/kg in the current one. Export price for in-shell hazelnuts has increased by 3%, however, the strengthening of the Georgian currency should have resulted in lower prices in Georgian Laris.
On the bright side, rejections at EU borders have reduced from 26 (August-May 2021-2022) to 8 (August-May 2022-2023). Last season’s high number of rejections was caused by heavy rains and improper post-harvest handling. Rains were apparent in this season too, but this time around post-harvest handing may have been better.
Data sources: Trade – Ministry of Finance of Georgia; Rejections at EU borders – RASFF Portal
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