At the end of August 2021, EastFruit wrote that Uzbekistan could set the record for orange imports in 2021, set in the pre-pandemic 2019. Analysts rated this probability quite high. Preliminary statistics confirm that the volume of orange imports was 50% higher last year than in 2019 and reached a maximum over the past 5 years.
According to EastFruit analysts, Uzbekistan imported 7.9 thousand tonnes of oranges in 2021, which is 110% more than in 2020 and 55% more than in 2019.
However, the absolute value of the import volume, as well as the per capita consumption of oranges in the country, remain lower compared to other countries.
The decision of the government of Uzbekistan adopted on October 7, 2021 to exempt the imports of a number of fruits, which included citrus fruits, from customs duties also contributed to the record high orange imports. Prior to the adoption of the decision, a customs duty rate of 10–20% was applied when importing these fruits, but not less than $0.2/kg.
The government’s decision to zero import duties was an additional factor in increasing imports. A few months before the decision was made, in January-July 2021, Uzbekistan imported 4.2 thousand tonnes of oranges, which is much more than in 12 months of 2017, 2018 and 2020.
As of January 14, 2022, the average wholesale prices for oranges in Uzbekistan are 15 000 UZS/kg ($1.4), which is 25% lower than on the same date in 2021. If we take into account the sharp increase in logistics costs over the past year, this result exceeds all expectations, EastFruit analysts say. It is certainly very positive for Uzbek consumers, as oranges cannot be grown in large volumes due to climatic conditions there.
The main countries supplying oranges to Uzbekistan are Turkey, Egypt and South Africa, which together account for more than 80% of all imports in 2021. About 12-15% were imported from Kazakhstan. Given that Kazakhstan is not a producer of oranges, it seems that it was re-exports.
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