EastFruit experts have repeatedly drawn attention to Uzbekistan’s rapid increase fresh watermelon exports in 2022 and 2023. In 2022, the country exported 81.8 thousand tons of watermelons, which became a historical record, beating the previous one by 67%. In 2023 Uzbekistan has already exceeded this record, exporting almost 96 thousand tons of watermelons in in May-August 2023. Thus, it is possible that by the end of September 2023 the country will exceed a historical 100,000 tons threshold for the first time, making it to top 10 largest global exporters of watermelons.
We know that prices of Uzbek watermelons are very attractive but are there any other factors, which made such a rapid increase in exports possible?
Geography of Uzbek watermelon exports
In 2022 fresh watermelons from Uzbekistan were exported to the markets of only 9 countries, with 99.6% of the total export volume going to 6 countries only – Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Belarus, and Latvia. Since in 2019-2021 Uzbek watermelons were also supplied to the markets of 8-9 countries, it is obvious that Uzbekistan did not open any new markets.
Despite the fact that in May-August 2023 the number of importers of Uzbek watermelon increased to 13 countries, 99.5% of the total export volume falls on the same 6 countries that were the main buyers of watermelon from Uzbekistan a year ago. Thus, the increase in exports of fresh watermelons from Uzbekistan were mostly due to higher demand in the traditional foreign markets rather than thanks to the market expansion.
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