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Why apples are more expensive than bananas and citrus fruits in Uzbekistan, and when will the prices decrease?

EastFruit analysts draw attention to the abnormally high prices for fresh apples on the Uzbek market this season. Currently, wholesale prices for popular varieties of fresh apples, even of average quality, are mainly higher than those for imported citrus fruits and bananas. High-quality apples are sold at even higher prices. Only table grapes and pears are more expensive than apples in wholesale trade.

It should be noted that there are less popular apple varieties on the market, which are sold cheaper than bananas, oranges or mandarins. Wholesale prices for local varieties or Renet Simirenko of medium and low quality are almost twice lower than for Golden Delicious and Granny Smith and start at 8 000 UZS/kg, which is equivalent to $0.74. This is quite expensive, too, considering that the prices in Ukraine or Moldova are 2-3 times lower.

What is the reason for such high prices for apples in Uzbekistan? Many attribute this to a low apple harvest due to frost. In particular, in an interview for EastFruit, the director of Fruit House Organics and intensive farming specialist Shukhrat Abrorov said that the apple harvest in many regions was largely affected by spring frosts. Unfortunately, frost protection systems in the orchards of Uzbekistan, as a rule, are not used.

The second reason is the relatively high prices for apples this year in Iran, which could partially compensate for the shortage. According to local traders, Iran harvested less apples in 2021 than in 2020, which, obviously, was caused by spring frosts that destroyed part of the crop in Uzbekistan.

The third reason is the remoteness of Uzbekistan from other apple exporting countries, which makes the supply of fresh apples to the country quite expensive. This is exacerbated by the fact that the cost of logistics has also risen sharply in all countries of the world, including our region, in 2021. Neighboring Tajikistan already imports apples from Ukraine and Moldova, but prices are also quite high there. Moldovan apples have already become available in stores in Uzbekistan, too.

As you can see in the chart above, Uzbekistan is the leader in terms of prices for apples of the most popular varieties. Prices there are almost twice as high as in neighboring Tajikistan and prices for Golden Delicious apples are 7 times higher than in Ukraine. As for the cheapest apple varieties, prices in Uzbekistan are on average 3.5 times higher than in the Ukrainian market.

Given the situation in the regional apple market, we do not expect a decrease in apple prices in Uzbekistan until the very beginning of the next season. And this means that those Uzbek growers who have installed frost protection systems and built modern fruit storage facilities where they can store apples until spring can count on very high profits at the end of the season.


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