The Ukrainian raspberry market is facing a crisis as procurement prices for frozen raspberries plummet to 12 UAH/kg, equivalent to 32 US cents or 30 euro cents per kg. These low prices have been primarily advertised by intermediaries aiming to resell raspberries at higher rates, resulting in slightly higher raw material costs for processors and pressuring processors to reduce their procurement prices.
This situation has led some Ukrainian farmers to cease raspberry harvesting due to its unprofitability. The cost of harvesting raspberries ranges from 14 to 18 UAH/kg (38-49 US cents), depending on the region and yields. Consequently, the 12 UAH/kg price often fails to cover harvesting costs, let alone other cultivation expenses. Only small-scale producers without hired labor can afford to sell at such low prices.
It’s worth noting that 12 UAH is not the lowest price ever offered to Ukrainian farmers in hryvnia, as prices dropped to 8 UAH/kg in the summer of 2018. However, considering inflation, the current price is only 14% above the all-time low in 2018 when adjusted for US dollars.
This dire pricing situation is concerning not only for local farmers but also for farmers and freezer operators in other European countries. Many processors in Poland and Serbia struggle to sell their frozen raspberry stocks from the 2022 harvest, as they purchased the new crop at prices 2-3 times higher than those in Ukraine.
Despite challenges, Ukrainian freezer operators are expected to secure some profit in 2023, especially given the wartime circumstances. There is hope that some Ukrainian freezers will expand their sales reach, particularly in the US and Canada markets, which is crucial for the country’s raspberry producers to maintain freezing capacity and prepare for the inevitable restoration of the global raspberry market in the coming years.