According to EastFruit analysts, Russia imported a record volume of watermelon in 2021. Moreover, Russia is likely to enter the top ten largest importers of watermelon in the world at the end of 2021 for the first time, and the volume of imports may exceed 80 thousand tonnes.
Russia has traditionally been among the 20 largest global exporters of watermelon. At the same time, the exports of watermelon from Russia usually exceeded imports. However, it became a net importer of watermelon last year after a sharp increase in imports, and in 2021 imports grew by more than 60% over the year, updating an all-time record.
Notably, the exports of watermelon in 2021 grew, although less sharply than imports – by only 17%. The largest growth was noted in the exports of watermelon from Russia to Belarus, Georgia and Moldova.
There were many surprises in the geography of watermelon supplies to Russia. The main one was the strengthening of Iran’s position as the main supplier. Iran has increased the supply of watermelons 2.5 times to more than 30 thousand tonnes. Uzbekistan also increased the exports of watermelon to Russia, but by only 19%, remaining second among the largest suppliers. Turkey has almost caught up with Iran in terms of supplies, increasing exports by 2.7 times. Kazakhstan remained fourth in the ranking of watermelon exporters to Russia, increasing supplies by 7% to 12.7 thousand tonnes.
Another interesting point was the sharp increase in the imports of watermelon to Russia from Georgia. Previously Georgia did not supply watermelon to Russia at all, but the volume of supplies in 2021 increased immediately to 1.1 thousand tonnes. Thus, watermelon was added to the range of other fruits and vegetables that Georgia now supplies to Russia in large volumes.
However, the exports of watermelon from Russia to Georgia is almost equal to the export volume of watermelon from Georgia to Russia. Why? The main reason is that the seasons of watermelon harvesting in Russia and Georgia do not overlap. Therefore, early watermelon is exported from Georgia to Russia, and late varieties – from Russia to Georgia.
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