Butternut squash from Ukraine sells well in Europe and Middle East

For several years, Ukraine has been actively developing exports of its fresh butternut squash, mainly supplying this product to the most demanding of the possible markets: the UK.

Despite Brexit, in 2020 Ukraine was able to sharply increase butternut squash exports once again and set a new export record for the year. By the end of 2020, butternut squash exports from Ukraine increased by 76% to almost 2,000 tons.

Compared with the volume of supplies just five years ago, the Ukrainian butternut squash exports grew more than 12 times. Back in 2016, Ukrainian exporters sold only 164 tons of squash abroad. In monetary terms, butternut squash brought Ukrainian exporters 783,600 US dollars in revenue, of which about half a million is the revenue from supplies to the UK.

According to an article on east-fruit.com¸ last year, Great Britain imported about half of all Ukrainian butternut squash exported – 972 tons. Exports to this country increased by 20% per year in volume and even more significantly in value terms since average butternut squash prices have increased. Considering that the UK imports more than 70,000 tons of butternut squash per year, Ukraine is far from having exhausted all the possibilities of supplying these vegetables to the United Kingdom because the share of Ukraine in British pumpkin imports barely exceeds 1%.

Image: EastFruit

“Exports of squash from Ukraine began to actively develop in the country after the closure of the Russian market in 2015 when Ukrainian vegetable growers were forced to urgently seek both new supply channels and new products for exports. One of these turned out to be squash and in 2016 the first 117 tons of squash were delivered to the United Kingdom. Today, squash exports are one of the fastest-growing segments of Ukrainian export products with high-added value,” comments Yevhen Kuzin, the head of International Projects at Fruit-Inform.com.

Image: EastFruit

“Buyers from the EU are selective about the quality of supplied products. Therefore, although the volumes of pumpkin imports from Ukraine are growing rapidly, they remain relatively low. Butternut squash, according to the requirements of the main European buyers, should be rather small and proportional and the optimal weight should be from 800 g to 1 kg. Squash over 1.5 kg are practically not used for direct sale in supermarkets and are mainly sent for further processing,” adds Mr Kuzin.

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