EastFruit analysts note that prices for imported tomatoes in Georgia have increased, but import volumes have increased, too.
International sources suggest that the increase in the price of imported tomatoes is due to bad weather in Turkey, which is the main exporter of tomatoes to Georgia. Local sources also agree with this.
Given the difficulties with supplies from Turkey, EastFruit price monitoring shows that red round tomatoes, which are massively imported from Turkey from October to May, have risen sharply in the wholesale markets of Georgia. The growth in wholesale prices for imported tomatoes in mid-January on an annualized basis amounted to about $0.30/kg. Official trade data also show price increases on CIF terms.
Despite higher prices, Georgia imported 1 200 tonnes of tomatoes in January – the highest volume in at least the last 9 years and 7% higher than imports in January 2021.
Somewhat surprisingly, both prices and volumes of tomato imports are up compared to January 2021. The main reason is the unusual base period of January 2021, when the Georgian government had to impose very tight restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19. Due to the restrictions, restaurants were only open for delivery and bazaars, which usually sell large volumes of tomatoes, were closed.
The restrictions resulted into weaker demand for imported tomatoes. Thus, the year-on-year increase in tomato imports, despite rising prices, is due to much stronger demand in January 2022, when there were almost no serious restrictions on the economy.
Over the past 8 months, Georgia has imported 7 700 tonnes of tomatoes – at least 30% higher compared to imports in the same period of any year over the past 9 years. Despite the recent increase in the price of imported tomatoes, prices in official import data are still among the lowest in history.
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