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Hazelnuts exports from Georgia: Official trade data looks good but is not reflecting the whole picture

According to 2021 October’s official trade data from the Ministry of Finance of Georgia, Georgian hazelnut export volume was the largest for the last five years’ Octobers. So far, the export volume this season is the highest since 2014. While the new harvest’s hazelnut exports are rising in Georgian official trade data, rejection numbers at EU borders, which cannot be covered by this data, are also on the rise.

Data source: Ministry of Finance of Georgia

Exports in October amounted to approximately 3,300 tons on kernel basis. This is 9% more than October 2020, and 20% higher than October average of last 7 years’. Seasonal reduction of exports is underway, yet total export volume this season is quite high. From August including October, Georgia has exported 9,150 tons of hazelnuts in 2021. Such high volume for these months has not been observed since 2014. Unusual Italian demand for the in-shell hazelnuts remains as the driving factor for the overall growth in total export volume. Meantime, shelled hazelnut exports have reduced by 8% compared to the same period of 2020.

Interestingly, in-shell hazelnut export prices are quite good. Average export price in October 2021 amounted to USD 3,000 per ton, which is 7-30% higher than October price in the four previous years. On the other hand the kernel prices have dropped to USD 5,800, which is a 2% reduction compared to October 2020.

Sadly, the quality of the nuts is not acceptable. According to RASFF portal, in just three months of the new hazelnut season, Georgia already has 19 rejections at EU borders. Out of this, 8 rejections happened in October. For comparison, the total number of rejections for 2020 season, from August 2020 to August 2021 was 13. Thus, the export volumes and prices look good in the official data, but this is not the whole story, as border rejections are piling up.

Georgia’s top exporting destinations, volumes and export prices for October 2021 can be seen below:

Data source: Ministry of Finance of Georgia

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