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Fruit prices in Ukraine may rise by one third
The April and May frosts caused severe damage to fruit trees and early potatoes, and this, according to experts of the agricultural market, will affect both the harvest volume and the prices.
According to preliminary forecasts, prices may be up to 20-30% higher than last year. Fortunately, berries, especially strawberries, were not very affected, although they will also be more expensive.
Agricultural experts affirm that 60-100% of apricot crops in most regions, except for the Far South and the Maritime Zone, have been hit by the cold. The Cherkassk and Kirovograd oblasts suffered the most, with just 10-15% of the ovaries remaining on the branches of the trees. A similar situation has been observed in the Dnipropetrovsk region, in the north of the Odessa and Mykolaiv regions.
"In Cherkassin, on 11 May, night frosts with temperatures of -1-6 °C were recorded which lasted for about 7 hours; something like this hadn't happened for more than 100 years of observations. This frost may completely destroy the harvest of all fruits, berries and early vegetables for which the critical temperature is -1-3 °C,", stated the head of the Cherkassy hydrometeorological centre, Vitaly Postrigan.
The apple harvest also promises to be significantly affected. In the Lviv and Rivne regions, where there are many farms, the apple trees did not even bloom because of the cold and rains, as the ovary rotted. Producers from the Vinnitsa region also speak of the death of 30% of strawberry bushes.
"The losses in the production of early berries in the western regions of Ukraine, where the most severe frosts were recorded, reach 90%, and that of the fruit harvest up to 50%," said a report of experts of the Ukrainian Agrarian Business Club.
The head of the Association Ukrsadprom, Dmitry Kroshka, said that it would be possible to assess the consequences of frost in more detail in a month.
The main consequence of damage caused by the elements is a significant increase in fruit prices, experts say.
Prices will definitely be higher than last year, but for now it is difficult to say to what extent until the harvest losses are calculated. Furthermore, it is not advisable to rely on imported fruit supplies from Europe, as the weather has also taken a toll there, with both frosts and flooding.
The president of Ukrainatcentre, Alexander Okhrimenko, predicted the minimum price for strawberries and cherries this year. "It will not be lower than 40 UAH/kg (about 1.36 Euro) in mid-June. Last year, it was 25-30 UAH (0.85-1.02 Euro). For plums, cherries and apricots, the price will be at least 20% higher and reach 50 UAH/kg (about 1.70 Euro)."
In any case, not only trees suffered from the May frosts, as potatoes have also been hit; however, experts assure that there will be no shortage of this "second bread".
"In Ukraine, out of 18-20 million tonnes of potatoes grown annually, one third are lost in storage facilities and another is consumed by the population and livestock, and it is not too late for potatoes, corn and tomatoes to be transplanted; the only issue is that the crop will take longer to be ready for the harvest," stated Doroshenko.
Also, according to him, potatoes can be imported from Egypt and Belarus, although prices will be higher; at the peak of the season they may reach 6-8 UAH/kg (about 0.20-0.27 Euro), or a third more expensive.
Publication date: 5/18/2017
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