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Ukraine exports over 4,000 tons of blueberries in 2023, setting new record

Despite Russian aggression and logistical hurdles, Ukraine exported a record-breaking 4,000+ tons of fresh blueberries in 2023, outperforming traditional suppliers.
Blueberries. Photo:
Ukraine exports over 4,000 tons of blueberries in 2023, setting new record

Ukraine established a historical record by exporting over 4,000 tons of fresh blueberries to international markets in 2023, according to EastFruit analysts. The achievement came despite the ongoing Russian military aggression against Ukraine and the immense logistical challenges faced by Ukrainian exporters due to border blockades by Polish farmers or truckers in 2023.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations highlighted that Ukraine has a significant number of young blueberry plantations, leading to a natural increase in average yield and production, even without an expansion in acreage. However, the area under blueberry cultivation in the country continues to grow as well, driven by the rising export demand and the investment appeal of this business.

Andrii Yarmak, an economist at the FAO’s Investment Department, attributed the surge in exports to three key factors: the optimal weather conditions for high blueberry yields in Ukraine, a sharp decline in blueberry production in Peru (the world’s largest exporter) due to excessive heat during flowering, and a reduction in domestic demand as millions of Ukrainians were forced to flee their homes due to Russian aggression.

EastFruit analysts emphasized the importance of export diversification for Ukrainian blueberry exporters’ success in foreign markets. With Poland becoming an unreliable partner, Ukrainian exporters actively sought alternative buyers, often securing higher prices for their berries.

Notably, while Ukrainian blueberry exports to Poland declined by 39% in 2023, exports to Germany – the main market for Polish blueberries – increased 18-fold. This indicates that Ukraine began capturing a share of the German blueberry market from Poland. Additionally, Ukrainian blueberry exports to the Netherlands grew by 37%, and exports to Spain and other European Union countries increased more than fourfold. Furthermore, some Ukrainian blueberry producers even started supplying directly to leading supermarket chains in the European Union.

Eastfruit questions whether Ukraine can replicate its 2023 success amid ongoing Russian attempts to occupy new territories and continued attacks on civilians and infrastructure. The country faces a labor shortage, and attracting foreign workers during wartime proves challenging. Additionally, unexpected weather conditions may negatively affect blueberry yields.

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