According to EastFruit analysts, during one of the Global Berry Congress, which took place on November 28, 2023 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, high level of attention was paid to Ukraine’s progress in the berry business. Despite the ongoing military aggression from Russia, Ukrainian companies continued to increase their presence in the global berry market.

Andriy Yarmak, economist at the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in his presentation: “Morocco, Egypt and Ukraine: global berry market disruptors,” noted that, based on the results of the previous five seasons, Ukraine has become the fastest growing exporter of berries among the top 20 leading global berry exporters.

“Exports of berries from Ukraine in 2018-2022 grew by an average of 25% every year, mainly due to an increase in export shipments of frozen raspberries. However, blueberries have recently begun to contribute significantly to this process, which allows Ukraine to annually move up the ranking of the largest exporters of berries in the world,” says Andriy Yarmak.

At the same time, in his speech he noted the huge problems that Ukraine is experiencing in developing the berry business. According to the FAO expert, Ukraine leaves about $100 million US dollars of added value to Poland, which allows the latter to maintain a leading position in the export of fresh and frozen berries. Polish companies sort and re-package Ukrainian berries and re-export them to countries worldwide but mostly within the EU. At the same time, Ukraine continues to sell raspberries at the lowest price of any countries in the world, while with certain marketing efforts and minor investments in technology, considering Ukraine’s perfect and unique agroclimatic growing conditions, it could sell berries at a premium price.

“The Ukrainian berry business could use this additional $100 million right now. This would allow Ukraine to reduce its dependence on one major buyer, with whom serious problems have arisen lately. By the way, Ukraine already has similar experience – relatively recently, Ukraine managed to successfully get rid of dependence on the Russian market, which allowed it to sharply increase exports of fruits and vegetables. Additional funds that would come from diversifying exports to Poland would also help significantly increase the volume and quality of berries, helping Ukraine climb up global exporters rankings and improving its reputation in the berry world,” noted Andriy Yarmak.

He also mentioned that next season Ukraine will have a serious carte blanche in the market for frozen raspberries, because many countries have reduced the area under this crop, while world prices remained extremely low. Accordingly, interest in raspberries may increase again among global buyers in the 2024/25 season, which will help boost revenues from raspberry exports. It would be nice to combine this opportunity with efforts to diversify exports of both raspberries and blueberries.

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