According to EastFruit analysts, today the wholesale prices for strawberries in Tajikistan have fallen to $1 per kg. Moreover, there are already offers to sell this berry cheaper than the psychological threshold of $1 per kg. In the meanwhile in neighboring Uzbekistan prices for strawberries are slightly higher, but the supply of berries is also growing fast and prices are changing rapidly.
Bakhtiyor Abduvokhidov, an international consultant at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), explains that the collapse in prices is due to the fact that at the moment there are strawberries on the market from three main regions of the country at once – South, Center and the North. In addition, it is very hot outside, which accelerates the ripening of the berry, leads to its fast wilting and forces producers sell produce in a hurry.
However, this market situation is not unique for Tajikistan. Every year at the end of April-beginning of May prices for strawberries decrease and remain at a minimum level until June, after which they slightly recover again.
“At the moment, there are no strawberries from greenhouses on the market – it’s all open ground. Despite the low prices, no one now takes the berries for processing, because in the south the quality parameters of the berries leave much to be desired, and in the north, the taste of strawberries does not yet meet the minimum requirements of processors. As for the central regions, where the season is in full swing and the quality of the berries is good, they are all sold without problems on the fresh market, so processors cannot buy it,” says Bakhtiyor Abduvokhidov.
He also adds that in the southern and central regions, mainly short day variety of strawberries are grown, and in the north of the country – mainly remontant varieties. In total, three waves of picking berries from remontant varieties are expected.
If we talk about price forecasts, then market participants are cautious with them. Although they do not rule out a further fall in prices for strawberries in Tajikistan, they cannot yet say how much the price may fall in the coming days. In order for the berry to be purchased for freezing, it is necessary that the price for it decrease to 50 US cents per kg, provided that the high quality of the product is ensured. For processing into jams and other purposes, the quality is not so critical, and prices can even be slightly higher. At the same time, they take it for processing for jams mainly in the second wave.
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