Ukrainian berry growers have stepped up harvesting of open field blueberries this week, analysts of the EastFruit project report. The start of the season was delayed by 10-14 days this year in comparison with the previous one, but started with lower prices. At the moment, prices for small wholesale lots of blueberries from local farms vary in the range of UAH 250-350/kg ($ 9.12-12.77/kg), which is on average 20% cheaper than for the first lots last year.
According to the market players, the first batches of open field blueberries became available on the market at the end of last week, but the quantity was very limited. At the same time, the starting price range for this berry was quite wide. In open food markets, retail prices for the first blueberries ranged from UAH 350/kg ($ 12.80/kg) to UAH 500/kg ($ 18.30/kg). Producers who offer retail delivery to their customers set a similar cost. Nevertheless, by the end of the week, some retailers were forced to lower the minimum price threshold to UAH 270/kg ($ 9.90/kg).
Meanwhile, the main supply of blueberries in supermarkets in Ukraine was local greenhouse and imported blueberries. At the end of last week, the price could reach 400-550 UAH/kg ($ 14.70-20.20/kg) in retail. The supply of first expensive berries to the stores was rather limited, but there were no problems selling them so far. In the segment of packaged berries, mainly blueberries from the Netherlands were presented, and the price could reach 600-700 UAH/kg ($ 22.00-25.70/kg).
The wholesale markets of Ukraine also offer both local and imported berries, but prices are gradually decreasing. At the beginning of this week, the average price for local greenhouse blueberries and berries imported from Spain was UAH 300/kg ($ 11.00/kg), and the first small wholesale lots of open field blueberries may be even cheaper. If producers had to quickly sell off the leftover products, in exceptional cases prices dropped to 230 UAH/kg ($ 8.4/kg).
Producers also expect that prices may decline as early as next week, as the supply of blueberries on the market will rise sharply. It should be noted that the production of blueberries in Ukraine this year will noticeably increase, as more and more plantations start fruiting, which were laid down during the blueberry boom in the country, when it even became the second state in the world in terms of expanding the area planted with blueberries. Moreover, Ukrainian producers are not going to stop, and the area of blueberries plantations can further increase.
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