EastFruit analysts say that Serbia continues to actively diversify its fresh apple markets. While five years ago, almost the entire production of Serbian apples was sold on the Russian market, by 2019, less has been going to Russia and increasingly more has been shipped to countries such as the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Hungary.
Considerable volumes of apples from Serbia have also been sold to countries such as Romania, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. In fact, in terms of volume, the Middle East has become the second most important market, after the Russian one.
This trend was confirmed by Ivana Kolarevich, director of sales on the Russian market of one of the largest fruit companies in the country, Vija Porduct, during the First International Online Conference “Apple Forecasts”. She also predicted that in 2020, Serbia will harvest about 500 thousand tons of apples, which will be a production record. This is due to the fact that the acreage devoted to apple orchards in the country continues to expand.
The diversification of Serbia's apple exports continues in 2020. In fact, Serbia has entered the top ten of largest apple suppliers to the UK in the first quarter of 2020, delivering 1.2 thousand tons. This is 67% more than in the same period last year. During this same period in 2008, Serbia delivered only 4 tons of apples to the UK.
By the way, over the same period, Ukraine reduced its apple exports to the UK to just 20 tons, compared to 561 tons last year, and is already losing market share to Serbia.
In the first three months of 2020, Serbia also recorded a 16-fold increase in its exports to the UAE, where it delivered 936 tons of apples, and it shipped 284 tons of fresh apples to the Malaysian market, where it is already catching up with Ukraine in terms of apple supply.
Given the expected increase in Serbia's apple production in 2020, competition between Ukraine and Serbia in alternative markets will likely intensify. This will negatively affect the apple business of recognized leaders, such as Italy, Poland and France.