Ukrainian Blueberry Exports Hit Record High Despite Challenges

by Roman Cheplyk
Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Ukrainian Blueberry Exports Hit Record High Despite Challenges

In 2023, Ukraine achieved a historic milestone in its agricultural sector by exporting over 4,000 tons of fresh blueberries, setting a new record despite the ongoing military aggression from Russia and significant logistical challenges

This update comes from EastFruit analysts who highlight the unexpected success in the face of border closures imposed by Polish farmers and truckers.

Andriy Yarmak, an economist at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), explains that the increase in blueberry production is due to the natural growth from young plantations and the expansion of cultivated areas. The export-driven market remains attractive for investment with careful planning and execution. Additionally, domestic demand has decreased as millions of Ukrainians fled the country due to the conflict, further influencing the market dynamics.

The significant export achievement was also facilitated by a decrease in global supply from Peru, the world’s leading blueberry exporter, which suffered production losses due to adverse weather conditions. This shortage coincided with the peak of the Ukrainian blueberry season, leading to high prices in European markets during August and September.

The diversification of export destinations played a crucial role. With Poland becoming less reliable, Ukrainian exporters successfully penetrated new markets such as Germany, where exports increased eighteenfold, taking a significant share from Poland. Exports to the Netherlands and Spain also saw substantial growth, and there was an 11% increase in exports to the UK.

For the first time, Ukrainian producers began direct supplies to top EU supermarket chains, meeting their high standards for product quality and delivery consistency.

Looking forward, the potential for repeating this success in 2024 is uncertain due to continued Russian hostilities, a shrinking labor force, and variable weather conditions that may impact blueberry yields. Despite these challenges, Ukrainian blueberry exports in 2023 demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability in the global market.

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