Devastatingly good veggie harvest

13:50, 22 September 2011
Politics
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Ukraine will see a record high...

Ukraine will see a record high yield of at least two crops this year, according to KyivWeekly. According to forecasts of APK-Inform, the cabbage yield will exceed 1.8 mn t and potatoes – 20.45 mn t. In addition, the average annual domestic consumption of cabbage is approximately 900,000 – 950,000 t and the consumption of potatoes is around 16 mn t.

However, the record 22.4% decrease in the price of Ukraine’s fruit and vegetable basket in September is expected to force many domestic agricultural producers to reduce growing of traditional vegetables next season.

After a confident two-year growth, a drop in prices is being observed in practically all agro commodity groups. In particular, over the past week the price of potatoes dropped by 27.8%, onions – by 35% and carrots – by 15%. The prices of cabbage, which last were the highest among all vegetables, have hit rock bottom, APK-Inform Coordinator of the Fruits and Vegetables Project Tetyana Hetman told KW.

In response, farmers are planning to plow entire fields of cabbage and vegetables and are calculating losses from potatoes they grew. One farmer Mykhailo Tarashevskiy says despite that the production cost of growing cabbage at the end of the season is UAH 1/kg, selling it to wholesalers at a price higher than UAH 0.50-0.80/kg is simply unrealistic.

On the other hand, market expert Andriy Yermak believes the crux of the problem in Ukraine’s fruit and vegetable business is that farmers live only for today. “A very low percentage of farmers invest in establishing trade relations and developing partnerships with clients. However, in the case of product excess the few that invested in marketing can save themselves and even profit, while the rest will be left counting their losses,” he said.

This spring Premier Mykola Azarov and the Ministry of Agrarian Policy urged farmers to expand the area under vegetables, promising high profits and support. As a result, today the government is trumpeting a slowdown in inflation at the expense of veggie growers not even intending to take any actions to protect them from going bankrupt.

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