Ukraine does not reduce the record pace of potato imports from Russia


Ukraine does not reduce the record pace of potato imports from Russia

01/29/2020

Potato imports to Ukraine from June to December 2019 already exceeded 231 thousand tons and were 506 times more than in the 2018/19 season and 2.8 thousand times more than in the same period of the 2017/18 season

As EastFruit analysts warned in December 2019, the decline in potato prices in Ukraine in October-December was not enough to stop the flow of imports of cheap, and often low-quality products from Russia. And here the official data on potato imports in December 2019 confirmed our concerns – potato imports turned out to be very close to the monthly import volume record set a month earlier and amounted to 43.6 thousand tons.

To understand how large this is, you can compare it with imports in the previous two years. In 2018-2019, that is, in 24 months, Ukraine imported 4.5 times less potatoes than in just one December 2019! The total import of potatoes in 2019 reached 250 thousand tons and exceeded imports in 2018 by 43 times! In December 2019, potato imports to Ukraine exceeded the corresponding month of 2018 by 234 times.

If we compare the current season of 2019/20 with the previous one, which is more correct than comparing the calendar years, then the figures here are even more shocking for Ukrainian potato growers. From June to December 2019, potato imports already exceeded 231 thousand tons and were 506 times more than in the 2018/19 season and 2.8 thousand times more than in the same period of the 2017/18 season.

See also: “I won’t sell my potato to anyone” – Ukraine continues to break records of import of the second bread from Russia

“Prices for Ukrainian potatoes have not changed for about four weeks, and they still more than double the level of wholesale prices for potatoes on the Russian market. In Russia a week ago it was possible to buy potatoes from farmers at 15 US cents per kg, and in Ukraine it could be easily sold at 30-35 cents. Accordingly, the importers’ margin remained very high in January, which allowed them to import Russian potatoes directly and through Belarus and make good money on it, ”says Andrei Yarmak, economist at the Investment Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

“I really hope that Ukrainian potato growers will not be left with nothing in March-April, because there is not much time left for selling potato reserves, and almost half of the Ukrainian potato market for September-December 2019 was taken from Russia and Belarus. And I do not exclude that in January, potato imports to Ukraine will also be very high, ”the expert predicts.

Naturally, under such conditions, the export of potatoes from Ukraine remained minimal. Ukrainian exporters sold a little more than 2 thousand tons of potatoes to the foreign market, which was 7.6 times less than in the first seven months of the previous season.

But Russia exported record volumes of potatoes over the same period, and imported the minimum. At the same time, the geography of Russian potato exports continued to expand – large batches of products were already supplied to ten countries of the world.

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