Most of the world’s garlic is cultivated in China, but one Ukrainian exporter has high hopes to become a worthy competitor. The volumes have grown over the past years, but this year has been challenging for them. Next to having mostly smaller sizes available, the processing facility and warehouse caught fire and were lost to the flames.
Ukraine continues to increase the acreage of garlic every year, says Natalia Sudarkina, CEO of Ukrainian garlic exporter Agro Patriot. “Although our volumes have been growing year after year, from October to July you’ll mainly find Chinese garlic on the shelves in supermarkets. The main reason for this lies with a lack of facilities for long-term storage in the country. Therefore, the main sales in Ukraine and export only last from August to November.”
“I think Ukrainian garlic has great potential – a strong taste and a large clove size (4-6 cloves per head). Ukraine’s main sales markets, according to official statistics, are the Baltic countries; Estonia, Latvia and Belarus. Smaller orders go to Poland, Germany, Great Britain,” Surdarkina explains. “However for our company specifically, the focus is on United States and Canada. Our main competitor remains China, as their cost is hard to beat. But Ukrainian garlic has a completely different quality, so we do not lower our prices to match theirs.”
The year was quite challenging for the Ukrainians, as a large amount of the garlic was of a smaller size. However, the company could still make use of this smaller garlic: “This is an excellent raw material for processing, so the Ukrainian variety is very hot and has more than 45% solids. Therefore, we launched a processing program. We produced processed products as dried garlic, peeled clove and also sold high-quality IQF-frozen cloves. Our warehouse holds about a 1,000 tons of garlic.”
Unfortunately the warehouse of processing plant of Agro Patriot were recently victim to a large fire, losing these important facilities in the process. The company has set up a way for people to donate to their cause: “We do appreciate donations to help start the garlic production over. We need support to become strong again, as many jobs were lost in a region that doesn’t facilitate a lot of jobs to begin with. Please visit this website for details in case you’d like to help. Our plans for 2020 are to build a new warehouse and a garlic processing plant, since the potential in Ukraine is still very large and we have not lost our confidence in the product.” Sudarkina concludes.