EastFruit analysts have repeatedly paid attention to the grave consequences of abnormally cold weather in Uzbekistan in January. Namely, these are the destruction of part of the onion stocks by frost, the expected delay in harvesting early onions, and the loss of the white cabbage harvest.
Along with these negative consequences, the January frosts also led to a significant delay in the time of planting potatoes. The first wholesale batches of potatoes usually enter the domestic market from the southern regions of Uzbekistan, since potatoes are planted in late January – early February there due to climatic conditions.
According to farmers, the planting of potatoes in the southernmost region of Uzbekistan (Surkhandarya) this year started at the end of the second decade and the beginning of the third decade in February, about three weeks later than last year. The potato harvest is “shifted” by about the same period. This means an increase in the volume of potato imports in the first half of 2023 since potatoes are likely to be imported for three weeks longer.
We remind you that potatoes have become the main import position of the fruit and vegetable sector of Uzbekistan over the past few years – the import volume increased from 193 600 tonnes to 547 200 tonnes, i.e. 2.8 times, from 2017 to 2021. But at the end of 2022, for the first time in the last few years, the volume of imports of potatoes to Uzbekistan decreased. According to international trade statistics, the volume of potato imports to Uzbekistan in January-December 2022 amounted to 532 500 tonnes, which is 14 700 tonnes or 2.7% less than in 2021.
Meanwhile, wholesale prices for last year’s potatoes in Uzbekistan have returned to the price at the beginning of the current year. In the second ten days of January 2023, wholesale prices for last year’s potatoes reacted to the anomalous cold for this region with a sharp increase – from 4 000 to 5 000 UZS/kg (from $0.35 to $0.44), as well as other vegetables. However, over the past month and a half, wholesale prices have gradually returned to their previous levels – from January 20 to March 3, 2023, the average wholesale price decreased from 5 000 to 4 000 UZS/kg (from $0.44 to $0.35).
As of March 3, 2023, the average wholesale price of potatoes in Uzbekistan corresponds to the level recorded on the same date last year and is only 8% higher than the average wholesale price as of the same date in 2021.
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