The Uzbek EastFruit team reports that open field potatoes were planted in the southernmost region of Uzbekistan, the Surkhandarya region, in the first ten days of February 2022. According to farmers’ estimates, the area planted with early potatoes in January and early February 2022 has been increased by a third. Early potatoes planting in Uzbekistan is now gradually moving to the central part of the country.
The first early open field potatoes in Uzbekistan will be harvested in the second half of March, but mass harvesting will start in April. Due to fears of a shortage of potatoes in the market, Uzbekistan has become one of their world’s largest importers in 2021. Obviously, the situation with the supply of potatoes has normalized now and there is not much time left before the start of harvesting.
Moreover, potato prices in Uzbekistan, unlike other countries in the region, even slightly decreased in early February 2022. The average wholesale price for potatoes in Uzbekistan decreased by 20% over the previous two weeks.
The main reason is the large stocks of imported potatoes in storage, which are losing marketable condition, as spring is approaching. The sale of last year’s potatoes is spurred on by the fact that farmers in the southern regions have already started harvesting early potatoes from film greenhouses. These potatoes were planted in November-December 2021.
According to selective estimates of producers, the planting area of ultra-early potatoes remained unchanged. Judging by the current state of the crop, the growth process is normal, since no weather anomalies were observed in December-February. Accordingly, ultra-early potato yields are expected to be similar to previous years, if there are no weather surprises during pre-ripening and harvesting. However, these potatoes do not play a significant role for the mass market, as they are sold at a higher price and their volume is limited.
It should be noted that wholesale prices for potatoes in February approached the prices of last year for the first time this season. Although prices in February 2021 were significantly higher than in the same month in 2020.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan, the total potato planting area in 2021 amounted to 78 200 ha. However, the increase in potato planting areas in the south of the country suggests that the rest of Uzbekistan will also increase the area of potato plantations in 2022, which will eventually mean planting areas in the whole country increase.
It is possible that we will see a further decrease in the relatively high wholesale prices for potatoes in Uzbekistan in April.
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