Analysts of the Ukrainian Horticultural Association (UHA) reported that in the first six months of 2020, Ukraine imported 443 thousand tons of fresh fruits, berries, and nuts, with a total value of $ 333 million. A year earlier, imports in volume terms amounted to 398.9 thousand tons, and in value terms – $ 271 million. Thus, foreign supplies of fresh fruits, berries, and nuts to Ukraine increased by 11% in volume and 22.8% in value terms.
The growth in imports was recorded in almost all commodity items of the fresh fruit and berry group, including fruits and berries, traditionally grown in Ukraine.
The sharpest increase in foreign supplies was observed in the melon-growing segment. In the first six months, Ukraine imported 2.1 thousand tons of melons, with a total value of $ 2 million. From January to June 2019, the same indicators were 0.7 thousand tons and $ 0.6 million. The main reason for the increase in imports this season was the decrease in the supply of local watermelons and early varieties of melons. Due to low temperatures in early May, Ukrainian farmers were forced to start sowing early varieties of melons with a delay. Nevertheless, those farmers who risked planting watermelons and melons, despite the low temperatures, either lost part of the harvest or received uneven seedlings. As a result, the products were also delivered unevenly to the market. Accordingly, for the entire first half of the summer, most of the supply on the market was made up of products from Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan.
A significant increase in imports was also recorded in another segment, traditional for Ukrainian producers of fruit and berry products. For six months of 2020, Ukraine increased purchases of apples and pears, the import of which exceeded $ 10.5 million for the reporting period. A year earlier, the import of these fruits in value terms amounted to $ 7.1 million. It is interesting to note that foreign supplies of apples and pears to Ukraine not only did not increase but, on the contrary, decreased by 10%.
“There were several reasons for the growth in the cost of imported apples this season. Firstly, after the record season of 2018, apple production in Ukraine and most European countries decreased. Besides, due to unfavorable weather conditions last year, many farmers complained about a significant amount of low-quality products. Accordingly, the volumes of apples that could be stored in storage for 8-9 months were limited. Another reason for the high prices for apples was the increase in these fruits’ consumption during the quarantine. Thus, an increase in demand with a simultaneous decrease in the supply of apples led to significant price jumps,” explains the Director of Development of the UHA Katerina Zvereva.
Compared to last year, for six months of 2019, Ukraine has increased imports of other fruits and berries traditionally grown in Ukraine. Thus, during the reporting period, imports of stone fruits (apricots, peaches, cherries, plums) increased by 16.6% in volume terms and 26.6% in value terms. A similar situation was observed in the segment of fresh berries. From January to June, foreign purchases of berries grew by 17.9% in volume and 40.9% in value. The current situation is explained by a decrease in the production of stone fruit and berry crops in the current season. In April and May, several waves of frost were observed in Ukraine at once. Producers of apricot and sweet cherry from the south of Ukraine reported a loss of 90-95% of the harvest of early stone fruit varieties. Most farmers growing blueberries and garden strawberries reported that losses amounted to 20 to 50% of the harvest, depending on the region.
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