The excitement in the potato market does not subside, despite the ongoing harvesting of products in professional farms and an unprecedented sharp increase in potato imports from Belarus and Russia. This is reported by EastFruit analysts.
At the beginning of this week, another round of price increases began - producers in all regions of Ukraine decided to raise selling prices for potatoes. If on September 26-27 it was still possible to buy potatoes in bulk at 10 UAH / kg (41 US cents per kg), then today farmers do not want to sell potatoes for less than 11-12 UAH / kg (45-50 US cents per kg), and individual varieties are even offered at 13 UAH / kg (54 US cents per kg).
Thus, in just two weeks, potato prices in Ukraine rose by almost a third. About the same increase in the volume of imports of potatoes. The most interesting thing is that potato prices in Ukraine are now on average three times higher than in Russia. And the difference between prices in absolute terms continues to grow, which makes the export of Russian potatoes to Ukraine through Belarus all the more attractive.
The rise in prices in Ukraine also leads to an increase in the price of potatoes in Belarus and Russia. If at the end of last week Russian potato growers sold products on average at 15 US cents per kg, then at the beginning of this week it becomes more and more difficult to buy potatoes at this price.
Against this background, in Ukraine there is an increase in demand for low quality potatoes, which are sold for less than 10 UAH / kg. However, the supply of such potatoes is also limited.
In the coming days it will become known how many potatoes Ukraine imported in September. As of the middle of the month, the Ukrainian Fruit and Vegetable Association (UPOA) estimated the volume of potato imports at the level of 8 thousand tons, although, as a rule, in September Ukraine never imported this product at all. At the same time, in the previous season, Ukraine updated the record for imports of vegetables and potatoes, which indicates systemic problems in this industry.
What will happen to potato prices in Ukraine next? The answer to this question is far from obvious. On the one hand, there is a delay in cleaning products, so the supply of local products is limited. On the other hand, consumers, frightened by high prices, fear a repeat of the onion market price scenario last season, therefore they are more actively than usual stocking up potatoes for the winter. The demand is also warmed up by numerous intermediaries who expect that the price of potatoes in the spring will reach 20-25 UAH / kg. They buy products, including imported ones, and lay them for storage, in the hope of good earnings.
At the same time, many analysts doubt that spring potato prices will be much higher than now, given the good harvest in neighboring countries and significantly lower prices.