EF Trade Alerts: a sharp increase in imports of potatoes and carrots – the results of June 2021 in Belarus


June of this year for Belarus was marked by a significant increase in imports of potatoes and carrots, which reached record levels for at least the last four years. In the fruit segment of foreign trade, a sharp increase in imports of watermelons was recorded, while purchases of garden strawberries abroad slightly decreased in comparison with June last year.

Potatoes and vegetables. Trade Alerts. Belarus. June 2021

In June 2021, two record indicators were recorded in the import of borsch set vegetables in Belarus (in the segments of potatoes and carrots). However, the reasons for each of the segments were different.

So, against the background of a decrease in stocks last year potatoesAs evidenced by the drop in the export of these products from Belarus, the demand for early potatoes has sharply increased in the country. The cold weather conditions in spring also contributed to the delay, delaying the start of the season of local produce. As a result, Belarus imported 6.6 thousand tons of potatoes (mainly from the harvest in 2021), setting at least a four-year record for the volume of purchases of these products.

Note that the main supplier of potatoes to Belarus in June this year was Ukraine, which exported 4,000 tons of these products to the Belarusian market. Ukrainian farmers were able to successfully solve phytosanitary export issues that previously impeded active supplies, and, as a result, could export potatoes to Belarus even in the midst of harvesting local products. For example, in June 2020, the import of Ukrainian potatoes in Belarus amounted to only 1.3 thousand tons.

Meanwhile, the export of potatoes from Belarus continued to decline and in June of this year fell by half to only 460 tons, supplied mainly to the Russian market.

In June 2021, the demand of importers from Belarus for carrot, but in this case, the reason was the shortage of carrots not in the Belarusian, but in the Russian market. So, it was in this month that wholesale prices for carrots in the Russian Federation broke all records. According to EastFruit price monitoring, in June of this year, the average price for carrots of the 2020 harvest in Russia reached $ 0.90 / kg, and imported products of the new crop were offered on average at $ 1.10 / kg, which was two to three times, or even four times more expensive than some years earlier.

As a result, Belarus imported a record 4.4 thousand tons of carrots in June this year, and Ukraine was again the key supplier, which supplied 4 thousand tons of its products to the Belarusian market. It is noteworthy that almost the entire volume of imports (3.6 thousand tons) was then exported by Belarusian re-exporters to the Russian market.

Among other significant changes in the vegetable structure of foreign trade in Belarus, one can also note the continuing decline in imports of garlic in comparison with the previous year. In June, the country imported only 52 tons of these products from China and Uzbekistan.

Melons and berries. Trade Alerts. Belarus. June 2021

The cold spring and the late start of picking local berries and fruits allowed Belarusian wholesale companies to increase their imports of products less traditional for June.

So, import watermelons in Belarus was a record for June, amounting to 2.7 thousand tons. About half of this volume came from Turkey, while other important suppliers were the countries of Central Asia and Azerbaijan.

At the same time import strawberries garden fell somewhat in comparison with the previous year, but, nevertheless, remained at relatively high positions. In total, in June 2021 Belarus imported 1.7 thousand tons of garden strawberries. At the same time, Lebanon was indicated as the country of origin of about 70% of these volumes, which suggests that Belarus continued to remain a platform for the re-export of products prohibited in the Russian Federation, and berries from Spain, Greece and other EU countries were supplied to the country under Lebanese garden strawberries. It is noteworthy that for the same month, the export of garden strawberries from Belarus reached 1.8 thousand tons.

In June of this year, Belarus also increased imports blueberryalthough it was still half the figure in 2018. Of the 93 tonnes of imports, about 75 tonnes of blueberries were again “imported” from Lebanon. At the same time, the export of blueberries from Belarus to the Russian market in June amounted to the same 75 tons.

Fruits. Trade Alerts. Belarus. June 2021

In the fruit segment of the foreign fruit and vegetable trade in Belarus, the most significant changes were mostly negative. At the same time, the volume of trade in fruits, the least popular in summer, has traditionally decreased.

So, import pears in June this year in Belarus barely exceeded 1,000 tons, of which about 260 tons were re-exported to the Russian market. The main suppliers of pears to Belarus have traditionally been the Netherlands, Turkey, Belgium and Poland.

Imports also dropped significantly kiwi and grapefruit… In June of this year, Belarus imported only 80 tons of kiwi, and purchases of grapefruit abroad amounted to 220 tons.

The remaining most significant changes were recorded in the fruit re-export segment. At the same time, the transshipment volumes drain through Belarus in June this year fell to almost zero, while re-exports dateson the contrary, it rose sharply and exceeded the figure of 200 tons.