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Ukraine exported carrots to Saudi Arabia for the first time

According to EastFruit analysts, Ukraine exported for the first time a commercial batch of carrots to the Saudi Arabian market in 2021. Twenty-four tonnes of carrots were sent from Ukraine to Saudi Arabia in sea containers in September 2021. By the way, we wrote about the prospects for exporting carrots to Saudi Arabia and other countries of the Middle East three years ago.

“The main problem of the Ukrainian vegetable sector is the lack of orientation on the needs of export markets. Since local supermarkets and wholesalers continue to sell vegetables of extremely low quality, it is easier and more convenient for vegetable growers in Ukraine – they do not have to invest in more efficient growing technologies, in expensive modern equipment for handling, cooling, sorting and packaging vegetables. However, the result is periodic price collapses, when the supply is even slightly higher than the needs of the domestic market, and income per hectare is relatively low. Therefore, even trial deliveries of commercial batches of fresh vegetables to distant markets are an important experience and an important signal to market participants that this is possible,” Andriy Yarmak, economist at the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), said.

In total, Ukraine increased exports of carrots by almost 3 times to 11 600 tonnes in 2021. Of course, this is a meager volume compared to what Ukraine could export if it produced export-grade carrots and promoted their exports.

“The countries of the Middle East annually import over 300 000 tonnes of fresh carrots. The UAE imports about 100 000 tonnes, and Saudi Arabia – from 50 000 to 60 000 tonnes. Kuwait and Qatar import 20 000 tonnes of carrots a year. This is a huge market that could provide Ukrainian vegetable growing with a good level of stability. At the same time, it would allow to reduce logistics costs due to the growth in supply volumes and provide further access to the supply of vegetables and potatoes to the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, as was the case with apple exports from Ukraine,” — adds Andriy Yarmak.

In the meantime, the main market for Ukrainian carrots in 2021 was Belarus, which accounted for about 68% of all carrot exports. Ukrainian suppliers also managed to double the export of carrots to Romania, where more than 2 500 tonnes were sent over the year. Moldova and Kazakhstan were the second and third among the largest buyers of Ukrainian carrots with smaller but significant volumes.


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