In 2022, the sweet cherry harvest in Uzbekistan dropped sharply due to prolonged rains during the flowering of cherry orchards, which also negatively affected exports.
EastFruit analysts believe that, despite the fall in production and a sharp decline in the volume of exports of cherries in 2021, Uzbekistan may still remain among the top 5 largest world exporters of these fruits and will continue to outperform Spain by export volume as Spain has been facing weather disasters for a few years in a row.
In 2022, the volume of exports of sweet cherries from Spain decreased, according to various estimates, by 30-40%. This means that Uzbekistan will continue to be ahead of Spain in the global export rankings of this trendy fruit.
“Uzbekistan could be a potential supplier of cherries to the EU and the Middle East, especially considering a very rapid decline of purchasing power in its main traditional market – Russia. Although many fruit traders are deterred by the large distance, as well as problems with quality and safety control of Uzbek fruits, the shortage of cherries in the world observed for several years in a row. Therefore, on September 15, 2022, 10 large foreign importers will arrive to Tashkent to negotiate with Uzbek exporters of cherries and other fresh fruits from Uzbekistan as part of the trade mission of the FAO/EBRD horticultural project,” says Andriy Yarmak, an economist at the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
See detailed description of the fruit trade mission to Uzbekistan here
Last year, Uzbekistan exported 18,000 tons more cherries than Spain, but this year the volumes of exports of cherries from both countries will be more comparable. By the way, technically, Uzbekistan ranks 5th in the world in the export of sweet cherries, but Hong Kong, which is a re-exporter, is in second place. Therefore, among net exporters, Uzbekistan is the fourth largest exporter of cherries in the world.
Greece, which also exports large volumes of cherries annually, has also reduced its exports in 2022. By the way, it is interesting to note that the United States also sharply reduced the exports of cherries in 2022. In 2021 US occupied the third place in the global ranking of exporters, ahead of both Uzbekistan and Turkey. However, even a sharp decline in US sweet cherry exports will allow the country to remain among the top 3 global exporters, although Turkey will almost certainly come out on top in a clean second place after Chile.
“We believe that at this stage, Uzbekistan should pay attention not to the place in the world ranking of cherry exporters in terms of volume, but to the quality of cherries and the infrastructure for its post-harvest handling. Producing annually between 160 and 180 thousand tons of sweet cherries in total, Uzbekistan could at least triple export revenue from cherries. Boosting fruit quality of cherries will help Uzbekistan export to much more profitable markets, which pay 3-5 times as much as Russian importers but for cherries of higher quality and larger size.” says Andriy Yarmak.
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