If in 2020, by the beginning of May, Uzbek cherries were already actively sold in Russia , with the first batches available at the end of April, this year, according to EastFruit analysts, as of May 7, there is a low activity in the exports of cherries from Uzbekistan. Moreover, the small batches of cherries that are now being collected are sold at a much higher price than last year.
This means that the Uzbek cherries will be available in the markets and supermarkets in Russia in large quantities only by mid-May 2021 – on average, two weeks later than usual.
At the Kuilyuk wholesale market in Tashkent, early cherries were available only at the end of April 2021, and prices for large cherries by local standards (26+ mm) reached $ 25 per kg. Of course, there was no demand for exports at such high prices and it was difficult to collect quantities suitable for exports. For comparison, a year ago, cherries were already on sale at $ 6-7 per kg almost two weeks earlier! In other words, the first cherry in Uzbekistan this year was in average five times more expensive than in 2020.
As of May 6, volumes of smaller cherries (up to 26 mm) were available in wholesale markets at prices ranging from $ 1.8 to $ 3.7 per kg, with an average price of $ 2.85 which is 31% higher than on the same date in 2020. At the same time, Iranian cherry exporters are actively promoting their products at a price of about $ 2.85 / kg.
At the moment, prices for Uzbek cherries are high, but are in line with the expectations of EastFruit analysts. Frosts, as we have reported , have seriously damaged the harvest of ultra-early and early cherry varieties. In general, the cherry harvest in Uzbekistan, according to our estimates, will be at least 25% lower than last year.
“It is interesting to note that against the background of the rapid growth of the global cherry market, Uzbekistan in recent years has been reducing the exports of cherries by an average of 26%, or about 7 thousand tons per year. It looks like 2021 will be no exception and exports volumes will decline again. This shows an urgent need for Uzbekistan to reconsider its approaches to the production of cherries: to replace varieties, improve technologies, expand the growing season, learn how to get large-caliber cherries , think about technologies for protecting the orchards from frosts and learn how to sort and pack for long-term transportation ” – says Andriy Yarmak, from the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
In addition to the losses in the cherry harvest, frosts and high temperature fluctuations are likely to negatively impact the quality of these fruits in 2021. Therefore, additional losses are not excluded. It is also obvious that a shift in the supply of cherries to foreign markets at a later date leads to a decrease in export earnings, because competitors, primarily Iran and Turkey, are actively supplying products at this time.
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