HomeNewsIran caused price collapse for table grapes and huge losses of grape owners in Tajikistan
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Iran caused price collapse for table grapes and huge losses of grape owners in Tajikistan

According to EastFruit analysts, this week there was an unexpected collapse in wholesale prices for table grapes in Tajikistan. According to Bakhtiyor Abduvokhidov, an international expert on the fruit and vegetable business, in just one week the price of white varieties of table grape varieties fell by 43% from $1.9-2.0 US dollars per kg to just US $1.1!

Undoubtedly, this is not at all the development that local entrepreneurs were counting on, against the backdrop of a real grape disaster in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in the winter of 2023, which led to the loss of a significant part of the vineyards.

What caused such a sharp drop in prices for table grapes in Tajikistan in just one week?

“After the New Year holidays, the demand for table grapes decreased sharply. Moreover, there are cheaper alternatives among fruits, such as the Pakistani mandarins, which were almost half the price of grapes. Also, the intermediaries had problems preserving grapes in storage facilities, and they could no longer keep the grapes due to rapid decline in quality. However, the main reason behind the price decline was in the imports of cheap table grapes from Iran, which dropped prices to a level lower than during harvest!” explains Bakhtiyor Abduvokhidov.

“It is interesting to note that the price has fallen for varieties of grapes such as Husaini and Lady’s Finger, while prices for the Toifi variety, which can still be stored, are still holding up. Toifi is sold at $1.3 US dollars per kg – no ideal but still higher than others. This is unusual because Toyfi has always been cheaper than Husaini and Ladyfinger,” says the expert.

He also notes that the season for grape resellers was not going well from the very beginning. In particular, before the New Year holidays, when many were hoping for an increase in grape prices, a lot of Chinese white grapes entered the market, which led to a drop in prices to levels lower than at harvest time. Therefore, intermediaries tried to hold the grapes longer, but now prices have completely collapsed.

“Although we have been explaining the fruit and vegetable market participants in the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia for many years that storing vegetables and fruits is not a separate business, but an integral part of the systemic business of growing and marketing fruits and vegetables, many continue to step on the same rake. Buying fresh fruits and vegetables during harvest for the purpose of resale at higher price is akin to playing in a casino, especially in those countries where there is no acute shortage of storage facilities to supply the domestic market,” explains Andriy Yarmak, economist at the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

A striking example from the same region that confirms this statement is the situation with onions this season. As in the case of grapes, middlemen storing onions this season may suffer significant losses while farmers who have their own storage facilities and sell their products systematically and rhythmically throughout the season are likely to make a very good profit.

However, let’s return to table grapes. According to preliminary estimates, the direct losses of those who purchased grapes during the harvest and are now selling them already amount to $1,300 dollars per ton! This does not take into account weight loss during storage, discarding part of the product, the cost of packaging and the cost of financial resources raised for the purchase of grapes. The same winegrowers in Tajikistan who sold their products at a record price immediately after harvest will be able to make unusually higher profits this season and reinvest this profit in the restoration of the vineyards or build their own storage facilities.

EastFruit

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