Potatoes for the 2022 harvest in all categories of farms in Uzbekistan are planted on 243 000 ha, which is 55% or 86 000 ha more than last year. Accordingly, the forecasted crop volume in 2022 is 4.1 million tonnes, which is 26% or 850 000 tonnes more than in 2021, EastFruit experts report citing the data by the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan.
Potato planting areas by categories of potato producers and their growth compared to last year were distributed as follows:
- 153 000 ha (70 000 ha more) of land of farms and agricultural enterprises, of which 115 500 ha (65 000 ha more) on the main areas and 7 300 ha (4 400 ha more) in the aisles in orchards and vineyards;
- 90 000 ha (10 000 ha more) of small farmers and household plots.
Thus, out of the projected 2022 harvest of 4.1 million tonnes, 2.6 million tonnes will be produced by farms and agricultural enterprises and 1.5 million tonnes by small growers and household plots.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, 40 districts in ten regions of the country specialized in growing potatoes, 23 districts – in potato seed production, 9 districts – in growing premium potato varieties. 9 potato-growing clusters have been created. In order to grow virus-free potatoes in an intensive way, 5 modern in-vitro laboratories were also created.
The Uzbek-Hungarian Potato Research Center was launched in the Tashkent region in 2021. Under a cooperation agreement between the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences – Potato Research Center and the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan, 6 varieties related to the selection of Hungary – “Aranu clipke”, “Balatoni Rossa”, “Demon”, “Botant”, “White”, “09-688” – were chosen for testing in the soil and climatic conditions of Uzbekistan. Scientific experiments are currently underway.
In total, the State Register of Agricultural Crops includes 131 varieties of potatoes recommended for planting in Uzbekistan, of which 19 varieties were created by local research institutes.
According to the ministry, the gross potato harvest in the republic in 2021 amounted to 3.3 million tonnes, of which 650 000 tonnes will be used as seeds for next year’s harvest.
We remind you that potatoes have become the main import position of the fruit and vegetable sector of Uzbekistan over the past few years. The annual volume of potato imports did not exceed 50 000 tonnes per year until 2016, and in 2017 potato imports amounted to 194 000 tonnes. In subsequent years – from 2017 to 2021, the import volume increased from 194 000 to 560 000 tonnes, i.e. almost 3 times.
According to EastFruit analysts, the volume of potato imports to Uzbekistan in January-March 2022 amounted to 223 800 tonnes, which is 47% or 71 700 tonnes more than in the same period in 2021.
Meanwhile, the first wholesale batches of early potatoes of the new harvest became available on the markets of Uzbekistan about a month ago, and their prices have halved over the past year.
According to EastFruit price monitoring, from March 18 to April 15, 2022, the average wholesale prices for potatoes of the current year’s harvest decreased from 16 000 to 9 000 UZS/kg (from $1.38 to $0.79), i.e. by 44% in four weeks. In addition, the average wholesale prices for early potatoes as of April 15, 2022 are at the same level as on April 15, 2021.
Prices for early potatoes tend to decline rapidly as supply increases in wholesale markets. If we assume that the price will decrease at about the same pace as in previous years, then we should expect wholesale prices for early potatoes to be much lower than the current ones by the end of April.
At the same time, wholesale prices for last year’s potatoes (harvest 2021) in Uzbekistan are currently in line with last year’s levels. As of April 15, 2022, their average wholesale price was 4 000 UZS/kg ($0.35) – 2.2 times cheaper than early potatoes.
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