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Raspberry prices in Ukraine shock growers

EastFruit analysts report that Ukrainian raspberry freezers are already declaring the first procurement prices for berries, although the season for purchasing wholesale quantities of raspberries for freezing is just beginning.

Advertised prices often vary significantly depending on region. In the central and western regions, prices are slightly higher, but in the regions between them, and especially in the Vinnytsia and Khmelnytskyi regions, the price level of raspberries for freezing, announced by processors, tends to the absolute minimums.

How much are processors in Ukraine going to pay farmers for raspberries to freeze?

In the Lviv region, the average price is announced at 42-44 UAH/kg, which is equivalent to $1.00-1.05 US dollars per kg or about 1 euro per kg. The prices quoted by freezers in the Kyiv and Zhytomyr regions are slightly higher – closer to 45-50 UAH/kg or about $1.1-1.2 US dollars or 1.1 euros on average. But in the Khmelnytskyi and Vinnytsia regions they talk about 35 UAH/kg, which is equivalent to $0.85 US dollars per kg.

Naturally, such prices do not cause delight among farmers, although they are significantly higher than last year’s. Moreover, many growers are already aware that prices on foreign markets have now increased significantly compared to last year, and they are counting on getting more for their berries. A survey conducted at the end of May by EastFruit specialists showed that the majority of professional market participants and farmers believe that prices for high-quality raspberries in 2024 will reach 50-70 UAH/kg or $1.2 to $1.8 US dollars per kg. As we can see, prices are still below the minimum threshold of this.

However, it should be noted that such a price is announced mainly for the purchase of berries from households in small quantities. Purchases from agricultural enterprises that can supply larger quantities of homogeneous products with the provision of all necessary documents are on average 10-15% higher.

Read also: Efforts to undercut raspberry prices detected in Ukraine and Poland

However, we should not forget about the situation that directly affects the possibility of freezing raspberries, namely the ongoing terrorism of Russia against the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine. Massive missile strikes and attacks by Iranian drones carried out by Russian terrorists on power plants in Ukraine lead to a huge shortage of electricity and regular interruptions of supply.

“Despite the fact that now there is a theoretical possibility of selling frozen raspberries at a high price, an uninterrupted supply of electricity is very important to freeze them. The current situation in the Ukrainian energy system sharply increases the risks of processors, which, obviously, they will try to include in the purchase price, as well as the growing costs of electricity. In addition, most likely, freezers will try to sell products, as they say, “from wheels,” i.e. they won’t store it for a long time, which will also negatively impact the purchasing price,” explains Andriy Yarmak, economist at the Investment Centre of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Even despite these difficulties, in our opinion, there are opportunities to increase the purchase price of raspberries for freezing in Ukraine. The fact is that the cost of harvesting raspberries in 2024, according to our estimates, will increase to an average of 50 US cents per kg. In addition, many growers are already experiencing a huge labor shortage. Also, world prices for frozen raspberries of high-quality categories are now closer to $3 US dollars per kg. In Ukraine, the average margin of freezers in recent years was close to US $1.2 dollars per kg. Even taking into account the new risks, theoretically today freezers can pay for large wholesale quantities of raspberries at least $1.5 dollars per kg or about 60 UAH/kg.

In Serbia, where purchase prices for raspberries for freezing are always higher than in Ukraine, because this country sells frozen raspberries at the highest price in Europe, the first batches of raspberries were purchased at $1.8 US dollars per kg. However, an increase in purchase prices for this berry is also expected there.

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