As the New Year’s holiday approaches in Georgia, the horticulture market revives and food prices tend to rise following the increased demand and this year was no exception. In the last week of this year, EastFruit recorded an increase in prices for the main categories of fresh fruit and vegetable products in Georgia. However, when compared to 2019, prices for almost the entire product line have decreased by 20-40%.
Mandarins, which are invariably associated with winter holidays, has risen in price by 20% this week to 2.20 lari/kg ($0.67/kg) in the premium segment, but compared to last year its prices have decreased most significantly of all the fruit types. In the mass segment, prices for mandarins did not rise even before the New Year, and unsorted mandarins are sold at prices starting at 0.70 lari/kg ($0.21/kg). A year earlier, the average price for mandarins during the pre-New Year’s week was 1.1 lari/kg ($0.38/kg).
Walnuts, one of the main ingredients in Georgian cuisine, has risen in price by 25% compared to 2019. Broken kernels can be purchased at a price of 20 lari/kg ($6.12/kg) and standard kernels at 23-25 lari/kg ($7.65/kg). A year earlier, walnut kernels cost an average of 20 lari ($6.97). New walnut plantations have already begun to bear fruit in Georgia this season so the supply of local walnuts has increased. In January-November of this year compared to 2019, we are already seeing a decrease in imports of kernels by more than 3.5 times and non-chopped ones by 40%. At the same time, the price of new harvest walnut kernels in the main importing country Ukraine has hardly changed compared to 2019.
Persimmon season has come to an end and wholesale prices for this popular fruit in Georgia have dropped from 2.5 lari/kg ($0.76/kg) to 1.5 lari/kg ($0.45/kg). There is an abundance of dried persimmons on the market selling from 3 lari ($0.92) to 5 lari ($1.52) per kg of large dried fruit of the Japanese variety Khachia. Previously, EastFruit wrote an article about the production of dried persimmon.
Kiwi has been selling at a stable price for several weeks now and depending on the calibre, it costs anywhere from 2.0 to 3.2 lari/kg ($0.60-0.98/kg). Unfortunately, a year earlier we did not track the prices for this fruit. However, the world prices for kiwi did not change significantly, therefore, most likely, prices in Georgia are approximately at the same level as in December 2019.
In the last week of 2020, the supply of apples on the Georgian market has approximately doubled. Traders are in a hurry to get rid of the least wanted apple varieties as well as fruit stocks that, for various reasons, cannot be stored for a long time. Accordingly, the wholesale price for an apple starts at 1 lari/kg ($0.31/kg) for Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Renet Simirenko varieties; and from 1.5 lari/kg ($0.46/kg) for Idared apples. However, Fuji apples are much more; the prices for this apple variety reached 2.5 lari/kg ($0.43/kg). Georgian farmers who have modern fruit storage facilities are not in a hurry to sell apple stocks because by February-March, in their opinion, the price will be higher. Also, apple exports are growing very rapidly and the demand for it in the Russian market remains good.
However, compared to last year, apple prices fell by 25% even though most producers do not complain about the lower price level since in conditions of high supply (the 2020 harvest forecast is at the level of 120,000 tons, compared to 44,000 tons a year ago) as well as a significant decrease in demand due to the pandemic and the lack of tourists, expectations were even more pessimistic. In addition, the price decline is offset by higher revenue per hectare thanks to higher apple yields in 2020.
Before the holidays, prices for greenhouse products increased significantly: greenhouse cucumbers by 30% from 3 lari ($0.92) to 4 lari ($1.22) per kg and red tomatoes by 50% from 3 lari ($0.92) up to 4.5 lari ($1.38) per kg. The price of pink tomatoes remained at the same level of 5 lari ($1.53) per kg and the price of cherry tomatoes is stable since this tomato is mainly imported from Turkey at 4.50 lari ($1.38) per kg. The price of red sweet peppers increased slightly by 5% up to 4.50 lari ($1.38) per kg.
However, the pre-New Year’s price increase in 2020 was not too significant to make greenhouse cucumbers more expensive than a year earlier. Today, you can buy wholesale cucumbers in Georgia by 27-30% cheaper than in 2019. However, the price of greenhouse tomatoes followed the depreciation of the local currency so a 13% increase in price was roughly in line with the devaluation level. Local producers of greenhouse products associate the situation on the market with a decrease in demand due to the quarantine, which was introduced on November 28th, which led to a stop of public transport and the closures of shopping centres, restaurants, and cafes with transitions to take-away.
Herbs, primarily dill and cilantro (coriander), began to rise in price since mid-December. Herbs prices were also higher than last year. The price for dill increased by 30% to 4 lari/kg ($1.22.kg) and by 60% in cilantro to 5 lari/kg ($1.53).
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