The volume of Ukrainian juice export also increased, especially to EU and Asian countries
Last year was record-breaking for Ukrainian export: we increased the export of honey, sugar, crops and sunflower oil. Recently, the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine reported about another major achievement – steep export increase of Ukrainian fruits and berries.
Apples are the most popular Ukrainian fruits abroad
We are selling peaches, quince and some other fruits to external markets. Though, compared with apples which amount to 95% of Ukrainian drupe fruits export, their share is minuscule.
Russia used to be the main importer of Ukrainian apples before national producers reoriented their export to EU and Asian markets. For instance, last year EU countries purchased 1125 tons of Ukrainian apples – 347 (!) times more than in 2013. The export of apples to Asia increased 55 times during last three years – up to 1211 tons. At the same time, Belarus remains the largest importer of Ukrainian apples. During last two years, the export of these fruits to Belarus increased 63 times – up to 9,4 thousand tons. Taking this into account some experts insist that Ukraine did not diversify its fruit export, as Belarus re-exports Ukrainian apples to Russia.
Ukrainian fruits are most expensive in Asia
The average price of Ukrainian fruits in Asia is $0, 44 per 1 kg. The price with discount for Belarus is $0, 17, while EU countries buy Ukrainian apples for $0, 22 per 1 kg.
Even though Ukraine has great potential for industrial horticulture production, there are still many issues to be solved
The first challenge is the cost: initial investment in the industrial-scale garden starts around 200 000 UAH – 500 000 UAH. We also have a substantial lack of fruits and berries storage facilities. Around 2 million tons of fruits are harvested in Ukraine every year, while only 300 storage facilities with approximate 250 thousand tons storage capacity are operational. Out of this total amount, roughly ¼ of storage facilities are equipped with controlled atmosphere technology. Furthermore, high loan interest rates (20-25%) prevent Ukrainian farmers from building additional storage facilities. Today the most viable opportunity for Ukrainian farmers to access funding is the state program of agricultural subsidies designed for 2017-2021 with a total budget of 5,4 billion UAH.
The production of berries increases by 4% per year
The key reason behind the development of this sector is the high profitability of berries production and low level of competition on the internal market. Ukraine is the 7th largest producer of strawberries in Europe with 6% share in the global production of these berries.
Ukrainian farmers managed not only to increase the production output but the scope of external trade of fruits and berries as well. In 2016 the export of blueberry and cranberry increased by 3,3 times amounting to 3 thousand tons. The export volume of strawberries and wild strawberries amounted to 2,3 thousand tons – 1,7 times more than last year. Export of raspberry, blackberry, and mulberry more than doubled amounting to 720 tons. Ukraine also resumed export of currant which was suspended during last 3 years: 7,9 tons of this berry was sold on external markets in 2016 for $18,200.
Ukraine increases export not only of raw but processed fruits and berries as well
For instance, Ukraine is on the list of top 5 world’s largest exporters of juices: 20% of Ukrainian juice are sold on external markets. Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Austria, Poland and Germany are among largest importers. Similar to the export of fruits, apples are the best sellers in juice sector as well. In total, Ukraine sold 70, 8 thousand tons of juices last year.
Ukrainian farmers also produce juices from organic fruits. For example, the company ТМ «Sadiy Prikarpattia» produces organic apple juice, as well as organic mixes of apple and peach, pumpkin, celery and chokeberry juices. Such water-, sugar- and colorants- free products are very popular among European consumers.
Available data shows, that Ukraine is steadily moving away from the export of unprocessed products. Within last couple of years we managed to increase both – the export of seed oils, chicken meat, and sugar, as well as of fruits, berries, and its processed products. This trend in its turn stimulates the development of industrial scale cultivation of horticulture and berries. Nevertheless, small-scale farmers also have plenty space for creativity: for instance, they can strengthen their position in organic fruits farming and niche berries cultivation.