Ukraine to break raspberry exports record in 2019
Ukraine exported around 14,000 tons of raspberries in 2017 according to estimates of analysts from the Ukrainian Horticultural Association (UHA). This was a major achievement as the country was not exporting almost any raspberries only 4-5 years ago. Fedir Rybalko, the head of UHA, thinks that Ukraine could have exported much more even in 2017 if it had enough facilities for freezing the produce.
Ukrainian frozen raspberries from the 2017 harvest have been offered on the European market until June 2018, when farmers started picking berries from the new harvest. This has caused a major problem for the raspberry prices in Ukraine and the whole Europe. East-Fruit.com reported that farmers went on strikes in Poland, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina protesting very low purchasing prices from processors.
The situation has also affected raspberry prices on the fresh market and they almost halved in Europe. Farmers from Ukraine reacted by trying to export some of their harvest fresh but most of these efforts failed as they had little or no experience in this business and not all the varieties were suitable for the fresh market.
As of the end of August raspberry prices in Ukraine remained very low. The highest purchasing price for the highest grade raspberries was close to 0.38 euro per kg while some farmers ended up selling relatively good quality raspberries for processing for as little as 0.22 euro per kg. Nevertheless, total volume that went to freezing has increased thanks to new freezing facilities developed since 2017 and exports of raspberries are now expected to raise significantly. Processors got an insurance policy by very low purchasing price, which will allow them to expand their markets.
UHA has brought two missions to South-East Asia in early 2018 to explore sales of fresh and frozen raspberries and blueberries to these growing markets and some of the companies came with contracts and starting supply first trial shipments to Singapore, Malaysia and other countries in the region.