We were not proud for long – Georgia again became a major net importer of apples


We were not proud for long – Georgia again became a major net importer of apples

02/07/2020

Export in the current season remains minimal, systemic deliveries of Georgian apples are conducted only to the Russian market.

Apple prices in Georgia are now two and a half times higher than a year ago, when Georgia actively exported apples to the Russian market. The high price could please Georgian gardeners, but the trouble is that they have practically no apples and that foreign suppliers get this higher price. The reasons for this trend change were studied by analysts at the EastFruit office in Georgia.

Georgia has been a net importer of apples for many years. Local production could not fully satisfy the needs of the domestic market, and the problem was not only and not so much in the volume of production, as in the technological backwardness and obsolescence of the industry.

More modern varieties imported from Poland, Ukraine, Turkey, the Netherlands and other countries liked the local consumers, and an apple from Iran was also cheaper than the local one. There was no place to store the Georgian apple because of the lack of the necessary infrastructure for fruit storage with a controlled gas environment (CGS) and a common understanding of modern approaches to the long-term preservation of fruit quality.

However, in the season 2018/19 (July – June), the export of Georgian apples, unexpectedly for many market participants, increased 10 times compared with the average value over the past five years and reached 12.5 thousand. tons In addition, the trade balance was positive for the first time, and Georgia became a net exporter of apples. At the same time, apple imports to Georgia also became the lowest over the past five years and amounted to only 3.4 thousand tons – all due to the same insufficient apple storage infrastructure.

Of course, a sharp increase in exports would be impossible, simply due to an increase in the apple crop. After all, you also need to produce competitive varieties of apples and be able to bring them to export quality. Fortunately for Georgia, this country had access to the Russian market, and this market accepts not the most advanced varieties and not the highest quality apple. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the increase in the area of ​​modern intensive gardens with modern varieties played an important role.

Were Georgian gardeners happy with the past season? In most cases, no, because the prices were very low and it was very difficult to sell an apple for processing. When apple prices began to rise in the second half of the season, most of them no longer had an apple, because There are not enough storage facilities in the country. As a result, many even emotionally declared the futility of apple growing in Georgia and actively put up orchards for sale.

During the growing season, climatic conditions were not ideal, however, it is only difficult to explain the sharp decline in apple production in Georgia in 2019. Most likely, the frequency played a role, which was the result of a low level of understanding of modern apple growing technologies, as well as a decrease in the use of fertilizers and plant protection products due to the financially unsuccessful 2018/19 season.

As a result, from the very beginning of the season, apple prices in the Georgian market were high and there was no need for export. In addition, domestic production also increased in Russia, so there was no longer a significant positive difference in prices that stimulated exports. And in January, apple prices in Georgia even exceeded the level of apple prices in the Russian market, therefore, theoretically, one could even import an apple into Georgia from Russia. We already wrote earlier that Georgia is an attractive market for the sale of apples.

As a result, in the first six months of the 2019/20 marketing year, Georgia imported 1.5 thousand tons of apples – almost nine times more than in the same period of the previous season. Exports for the same period decreased three times and amounted to less than 0.6 thousand tons. Thus, Georgia, even in the first half of the season, was a net importer of apples, and this situation will be exacerbated in the second half of the season.

As we can see from the graph, this season, the supply of apples to Georgia Turkey, Iran and Poland increased most of all.

According to official statistics, in 2018 Georgia produced 83 thousand tons of apples, which is 4 times more than in 2017, and 1.6 times more than the average for the year 2013-2017.

It turns out that in the 2018/19 season, 15% of all apple produced was exported, if, of course, you believe in the official statistics. Of 12.5 thousand tons of exported apples, 11.1 thousand tons (89%) went to Russia. Although there were very interesting export deliveries, for example, the export of more than 400 tons of apples to Afghanistan, or several batches of apples sent to Slovenia. Also noteworthy is the export of almost 182 tons of Georgian apples to the Ukrainian market at a time when Ukraine itself was actively exporting products. Presumably, this apple was intended for re-export.

In the new season, export remains minimal, and from January, most likely, it will completely disappear. In fact, the apple was delivered systemically only to the Russian market.

Therefore, we can conclude that this season only professional gardeners in Georgia, who invested in quality and modern technologies, were able to get a good harvest and save it until this time, will be able to bring themselves into the asset. Indeed, now you can even sell an apple from a warehouse in Georgia for $ 1.2 US dollars per kg. Therefore, this season will be a good lesson on professionalism for all participants in the apple market, and in the next, it is possible that we will again see low prices and a struggle for sales markets.

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