Early cabbage, together with early potatoes and onions, is one of the first fresh vegetable crops harvested in open field cultures in Uzbekistan. According to EastFruit, in 2021 it arrived on the markets in the country in the second half of March, and in many markets it has already replaced the harvest of last year’s cabbage. In addition, early cabbage is one of the important items in Uzbekistan’s exports, which generates several million dollars annually.
It is interesting to note that export shipments of early cabbage from Uzbekistan often start earlier than having the cabbage on the domestic markets because the producers are trying to get the highest possible price for this product on the foreign market.
It should be noted that early cabbage and cabbage of late varieties, subject to long-term storage, are completely different products from consumer’s point of view. They are not completely interchangeable, since some uses require just “old cabbage”. Therefore, both types of cabbage in the spring are usually available on the market at the same time and sell well, despite the significant difference in prices. As of April 16, 2021, early cabbage is sold in supermarkets in Tashkent at a price of 4500-5000 som/ kg ($ 0.43-0.48), and the price has been at this level for two weeks. At the same time, cabbage of the 2020 harvest can be purchased at a significantly lower price.
Traditionally, Uzbek producers and traders have tried to use the so-called “window of opportunity” to export early cabbage to colder countries, where is harvested later. Examples of such countries are Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. In Ukraine and Russia, early local greenhouse cabbage is supplied to the local market in large volumes starting at the end of April, and the one harvested in open field from the end of May. In Belarus, the harvest of early open-field cabbage goes to the domestic market at the end of June. Thus, the “window of opportunity” for exporting Uzbek cabbage is two months in Ukraine and Russia and three months i Belarus.
Due to the cold spring in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, the beginning of the harvest of early cabbage shifted by an average of two weeks. Therefore, Uzbekistan has two additional weeks for exports. It is possible that the exported volumes of early Uzbek cabbage will increase in 2021. In 2020, the peak of the exports of early cabbage from Uzbekistan fell in April, when more than 14 thousand tons were exported and in May 2020, exports fell to 1.2 thousand tons.
The exports of early cabbage to Ukraine, Belarus and Russia from Uzbekistan are now in full swing. According to information received by EastFruit analysts from Uzbek exporters, early cabbage is shipped from Uzbekistan at a price of $ 0.32 / kg to $ 0.43 / kg (size of product 0.7-1.7 kg), depending on the type of packaging (bag or boxes). Also, Uzbek transporting companies are actively looking for opportunities to reload vehicles that are used to supply early cabbage to these countries.
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