Apple harvest in Georgia will be higher this year, prices lower – GUFruit


Apple harvest in Georgia will be higher this year, prices lower – GUFruit

05/20/2020

One of the most important tasks facing the Georgian producer is to grow an apple that, under proper storage conditions, will remain in good condition until March next year.

This year’s apple harvest in Georgia will be 50-60% higher than last year, while prices will be 10-20% lower, ”says Ilya Mishchenko, director and co-founder of a large Georgian apple producer GUFruit.

During the first international online conference “Apple predictions”, organized by the EastFruit project with the support of the FAO, EBRD, Ukrainian Fruit and Vegetable Association (UPOA), the international analytical project Fruit-Inform and the FARM Federation of Agricultural Producers of Moldova, Ilya Mishchenko analyzed the general situation in Georgia from the point of view apple production, and also talked about his company’s plans.

“In 2019, the apple harvest in Georgia was at the level of 44 thousand tons, which is 47% lower than the previous year. A factor in the frequency of fruiting played a role, in addition, in the Gori district, the country’s largest apple producer, several strong hailstones passed, which destroyed up to 80% of the crop. This year the weather is more favorable, and if all this continues, then I think the harvest will be 65-70 thousand tons, which is 50-60% more than in the past. The gardens of our company themselves were wintered fairly well. I want to note that we are working to achieve more even fruiting over the years, in particular, we use thinning technology, and this has already yielded good results. The company’s harvest in 2019 was only 20% lower than the previous one, and this year we expect growth by 30%.

If we talk about prices for apples, then in 2019 they were higher than in 2018, and at the end of the season, in March-April of this year, they were 70% higher, which, of course, was very nice. That is, those manufacturers who were able to keep the crop until spring sold their products at a price of $ 1- $ 1.3 per kg. I am sure that the upward trend in prices for the Georgian apple in the spring will continue this year. So, one of the most important tasks facing the Georgian producer is to grow an apple that, under proper storage conditions, will remain in good condition until March next year. Average prices for an apple in the coming season, in comparison with an already completed one, taking into account all factors, in my opinion, will be 10-20% lower, ”Ilya Mishchenko said.

See also: Export of Ukrainian apple in the new season will support prices in the domestic market – Alexander Khorev

As for the sale of the Georgian apple, then, according to the director of GUFruit, at this stage, the most optimal is the emphasis on the domestic market. “We need to face the truth: most Georgian agricultural producers have not yet learned how to produce export-quality products (not to mention packaging). In my opinion, you first need to conquer the local market, and then think about more. In addition, there are good prices for a good quality apple in the Georgian market, ”he said.

The priority domestic market this year will be for the company GUFruit. However, it does not exclude exports to Russia at the beginning of the season. “Our gardens are located in the south-east of Georgia, and with regard to the beginning of the collection, we have a two-week handicap even in comparison with the Gori region, not to mention Russia. If Russian companies are interested, and we are 3-4 weeks ahead of Krasnodar, we may send several batches to this market at the beginning of the season, ”the company’s founder said.

Speaking about spring work in apple orchards, Ilya Mishchenko expressed gratitude to the Georgian authorities for supporting farmers under the restrictions imposed in the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “The coronavirus broke out at the most important time for gardeners, but in Georgia they did not“ tighten the screws ”without looking at the agricultural sector. For example, the garden of our company fell under the strict quarantine zone, but thanks to the timely reaction of the authorities, both local and central, everything was organized so that we could carry out all the necessary agricultural operations in the garden. In terms of the authorities’ response, Georgia dealt with this situation perfectly. And now a lot of new programs have begun in the country to help farmers. In Georgia, there is real support for the agricultural sector, ”he stressed.

GUFruit was established in 2012. The company’s assets include 33 hectares of apple orchards in the Bolnisi region (Kvemo Kartli region, Eastern Georgia).

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