According to EastFruit analysts, despite the ongoing harvesting of potatoes in households and the beginning of harvesting in professional farms in Ukraine, the import of potatoes from Belarus continues.
Moreover, in wholesale trade, Belarusian potatoes are still sold on average 1-2 UAH / kg (2,5 US cents) cheaper than Ukrainian.
“Today Ukrainian potatoes are the most expensive in the region. For it, Ukrainian farmers ask on average about 8,5-9,5 UAH / kg ($ 0,34-0,38) per kg, while potatoes in Russia can be bought even at $ 0,15 per kg, that is, more than half the price. In Belarus, the prices for potatoes are on average two times lower than in Ukraine - about $ 0,18-0,19 per kg, therefore, it is now very profitable to import Russian and Belarusian potatoes into Ukraine, ”says Andriy Yarmak, economist at the food investment department. and the UN Agriculture Organization (FAO).
“It is interesting to note that against the background of an increase in the supply of potatoes on the market, prices for it are not decreasing. Moreover, with the appearance of the most interesting culinary varieties on the market, the average wholesale price for Ukrainian potatoes even slightly increased on weekends, albeit only for premium varieties. This may lead to an even more dynamic growth in imports, because in the coming weeks the prices for potatoes in Russia and Belarus will decrease as the harvesting of tubers progresses, ”the expert predicts.
Industry associations have repeatedly noted that Belarus has established unequal access rules for the trade in potatoes. While potatoes from Belarus are imported into Ukraine without restrictions, Ukrainian potato exporters are required to prove that their potatoes are produced in areas free of quarantine organisms. Moreover, potatoes from Belarus are not always of very high quality - on the contrary, market participants have noted numerous problems with this product, which has already led to problems with the supply of Belarusian potatoes to the EU countries.
However, even if Ukraine introduces restrictive measures regarding the supply of potatoes from Belarus, which is unlikely in connection with the dissolution of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, then it will be extremely difficult to protect its market from cheaper potatoes from Belarus and Russia. After all, the supply of Ukrainian fruits and vegetables to Russia has been banned for many years, but tens of thousands of tons of Ukrainian apples, according to traders, still find their way to the Russian market.
Will potato prices decline in the future? EastFruit analysts believe that potato prices will still decrease in the coming weeks, because otherwise sales of products will be complicated, and imports will continue to grow.