The 2019/2020 season will go down in the history of domestic agriculture as very generous to the crop, but squeezed (in relation to agricultural producers) - to prices. Cabbage, carrots, onions, beets - all these crops by the end of winter became the heroes of the Rosstat rating, devoted to products that have fallen in price as much as possible over the past year. We’ll clarify right away: only sugar succeeded in overtaking them in this sad list.
But the potato did not get into the rating - simply because its prices have remained low for more than a year.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the gross harvest of potatoes in the industrial sector amounted to about 7,5 million tons, which is 5,5% more than in 2018 (7,1 million tons) and 9,5% higher than the average annual level of the last five years (6,9 255,6 million tons). Favorable weather conditions during the growing season affected yield growth (it increased to 234,8 c / ha versus 2018 c / ha in 2019), and warm and dry autumn is almost everywhere (with the exception of a number of regions of the North-West and Ural , Far Eastern Federal Districts) allowed to collect products to the maximum. Thus, a record was achieved even with a slight reduction in cultivation areas (in 302,3, potatoes occupied about 2018 thousand ha, in 304,8, the crop was grown on an area of XNUMX thousand ha). As expected, this achievement did not bring joy to agricultural producers.
The excess of products on the market has led to increasing sales problems and falling prices, which, it would seem, have nowhere to fall for a long time. By mid-winter, potatoes in the leading production areas were sold at 5-7 rubles / kg (wholesale), depending on the quality of the batch. In fact, manufacturers sold products at cost, and sometimes even below it. In February, the cost of the product rose to 8-9 rubles / kg, and for many this result was also far from desired.
The year once again, following the same record 2015, confirmed that Russia does not need table potatoes in such quantity. Refining volumes - even taking into account the start-up of enterprises in the Lipetsk, Tyumen and other regions - increased slightly over four years (the news about the bankruptcy of EcoFrio in the Bryansk region looks especially sad against this background).
Although export has increased, it is not decisive for the market. The industry is in crisis.
It is interesting that the potato growers of Ukraine, on the market of which there is a shortage of potatoes, and product prices have been breaking all records since August, also attribute the 2019/20 season to unsuccessful. Farmers point out two main causes of the problems. The first is the wrong sales strategy. Most potato growers decided to keep the crop until winter, hoping that by this time the product would rise in price to its maximum level.
Who would have guessed that this level would be reached literally in the midst of harvesting? Already in August, a sea of products from the “neighbors” surged into the country, and with it a swarm of rumors of an impending deficit flew in, forming a steady demand.
Prices rose to a prohibitive level, but this did not stop buyers. Everyone knew that the end of summer and the beginning of autumn was the time of the cheapest potatoes, and everyone was afraid that things would get worse.
But the madness was expected to end: residents stocked up for the future, demand fell, prices fell. Now the farms have a choice: to sell or wait for the population to run out of supplies. Moreover, there is practically no waiting time, and the flow of potatoes of non-Ukrainian origin does not dry out, since wholesale prices (according to December 2019) are now twice as high as in Russia. At the same time (here it is, the second problem!), For a significant part of producers selling potatoes was the only hope to improve their financial situation: many are also engaged in the cultivation of carrots, beets, cabbage, onions, and the prices of open ground vegetables in the country this year remain at record low.
However, the situation on the Russian market is also far from ideal. Gross harvests of open-ground vegetables in the industrial sector of vegetable growing in 2019 amounted to 5 thousand tons. This is 468,3% (9,3 thousand tons) more than in 463,5. The growth, as in the potato sector, was achieved by increasing yields.
There are other numbers. According to the results of the last quarter of 2019, carrots fell by 29,3%, cabbage - by 18,2%, onions - by 27,4%, beets - by 19,6%. Given the cost of vegetables and potatoes included in the minimum food basket, in Russia it was proposed to reduce the cost of living for the IV quarter of 2019 to 10 609 rubles.
A year earlier, the situation was completely different.
In March 2019, Rosstat named white cabbage the leader in food inflation among products. Prices for cabbage then increased by 41,5% per month, and if you count from the end of 2018 - immediately by 68,3%. In April, according to the Rusprodsoyuz association, bulk lots of cabbage were sold at a price of about 45-55 rubles per kilogram (in December 2018, the average price did not exceed 22 rubles / kg). None of the other components of the “borsch set” could achieve such results.
The reason for the steady increase in prices was understandable: in 2017, there was an oversupply of products on the market, and next year, farmers reduced their cultivation areas, which affected the laying of storage volumes for storage.
In 2018, 872,6 thousand tons of cabbage were harvested in Russia in the industrial sector of vegetable growing, which is 11,4% (112,8 thousand tons) less than in 2017.
In 2019, the yield of white cabbage throughout the country, according to statistics, did not exceed the achievements of 2018: about 800 thousand tons were received. Nevertheless, many agricultural producers note that cabbage yield has increased markedly this season, and it was possible to harvest much more than planned. By October, cabbage became the leader in the ranking of falling prices. In December, white cabbage was 20% cheaper than in December 2018, by January 2020 - 1,6 times cheaper than in the same period of 2019. By early February, prices again went down (sales in the regions ranged from 6 to 14 rubles / kg), as many manufacturers began to empty the storage facilities, fearing that the quality of the product would not allow it to be stored until spring.
According to the Federal State Statistics Service, the cultivated areas of carrots in the industrial sector in 2018 were at the level of 23,2 thousand ha (i.e., compared with the previous year, they decreased by 7,4% (by 1,9 thousand ha). Gross harvest amounted to 810,2 thousand tons, which is 4,0% (33,4 thousand tons) less than in 2017. By the way, the decline in production was recorded for the first time after five years of continuous growth.
At the same time, carrot prices did not beat records, but remained at a relatively high level, especially if we count from the beginning of 2019, when many producers ran out of stocks of a quality product: by mid-January, carrots were sold at 13-20 rubles / kg ( which is 47% higher on average than at the end of January 2018), by March the average price increased by another 22%.
A large volume of imported products (primarily from Belarus), which was sold at almost the same prices as domestic ones, prevented further appreciation.
In 2019, the gross harvest of carrots increased - according to official figures, by about 1%. Prices have fallen. By the end of January 2020, carrots were sold at an average of 8-14 rubles / kg, in the first ten days of February - 6-12 rubles / kg, depending on the quality of the batch.
In 2018, on the beet market, experts noted an increase in crop volumes - by 11% (up to 427 thousand tons). This result was recognized as the highest since the beginning of the 90s. A year earlier, 384 thousand tons were collected, and in 2016 - 404 thousand tons. At the same time, product prices supported the general upward trend in vegetables.
According to the AB Center, wholesale batches of beet by the end of January 2019 were sold, on average, at a price of 10,5 rubles / kg (excluding VAT), i.e. 19,3% more than in the same period a year earlier. By April 2019, prices were at the level of 10-17 rubles / kg.
In 2019, the volumes of harvesting beetroot increased by 2,5% (compared to 2018), and prices naturally fell: by January 24, 2020, according to price monitoring from the Expert Analytical Center for Agribusiness, beet lots were selling on average at 8,8 rubles ./kg (excluding VAT), i.e. 16,5% cheaper than in the same period of 2019.
The onion harvest in 2018 amounted to 1,034 million tons, and this result was 11% lower than the results of 2017. Against this background, the product took the second place among the cultures of borscht selection in the price rating: according to the Federal State Statistics Service, from the beginning of 2019, onions rose in price by 71,5%.
The rise in value can be traced in detail: by February 15, 2019, lots were sold at a price of 14,5-15 rubles / kg (in February 2018 - from 9 rubles / kg), by February 22, in the conditions of a decrease in reserves by in warehouses - already from 19-20 rubles / kg, by April 19 - from 21-22 rubles / kg (in April 2018 - from 10 rubles / kg), by April 26 - from 2526 rubles / kg ( in early May 2018 - from 8 rubles / kg).
Onions began to get cheaper only from the beginning of July, but also during this period maintained a positive gap with last season prices: in July, in central regions of Russia, onions were sold at a price of 18-25 rubles / kg, and in early August - at 15-22 rubles / kg
In abundant 2019, it was possible to collect 1,09 million tons (5% more than in 2018) of onions. Prices were without records: at the end of December 2019 and at the beginning of January 2020, wholesale lots of onions sold 10-17 rubles / kg. By the end of January, the cost, according to analysts at East-fruit.com project, rose by 8%, and at that moment the product offer on the market increased sharply, which again returned prices to their previous course.
Summing up the 2019/20 season in February is certainly early. Ahead is the withdrawal from the market of a large volume of low-quality products, potentially - an increase in demand for high-quality goods, the opening of storage facilities of large manufacturers, counting on more favorable prices, and, of course, the import of goods.
Despite the significant progress in storage achieved in recent years, procurement volumes for each crop remain very significant. So, according to the Federal Customs Service, in the season 2018/2019. Russia imported 113 thousand tons of cabbage, 187 thousand tons of carrots, and over 200 thousand tons of onions from abroad. The main exporters are Egypt, Azerbaijan, Israel, China. Although the buildup of supplies from China this spring, apparently, will no longer be.
There are still several important months ahead, for which many have high hopes, possibly quite justified. Recall, for example, that the price of potatoes last season only stepped up to the first days of May (lots sold at the level of 13-14 rubles / kg) and remained at a relatively high level until early potatoes arrived from the southern regions of Russia, allowing agricultural producers to stay in plus.
But the ending of this sales season may be different. As well as the completion of the next, before the start of which there is very little time left.
We can assume that, most likely, against the background of the current situation, this year the area under the borscht culture will not be increased. And this means that in the event of natural disasters during the season or during harvesting in autumn, a shortage of vegetables and potatoes and an increase in prices are not excluded, but this forecast is not nearly as accurate as the weather forecast for next summer.
It is impossible to predict where price swings will swing in an unregulated market. The story of rising prices in the midst of harvesting in Ukraine is the best confirmation of this. The only insurance against price fluctuations for the agricultural enterprise is the introduction of its own planning system, which implies a clear understanding of where, in what volume and at what price the crop will be sold. This can be achieved by forming and maintaining a circle of regular customers or growing products for a specific order, under an agreement with processing enterprises or retail chains. Today, many farms have opportunities for this.