Table grape prices skyrocket in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan due to frost damage. The table grape market in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan is facing a shock as wholesale prices for the most popular varieties have soared to unprecedented levels. EastFruit analysts report that the current prices are several times higher than the usual ones for this season.
The main reason for this situation is the severe winter frost that devastated the vineyards in both countries, as we have previously reported. Table grapes, which are normally the cheapest fruits in Tajikistan at this time of the year, are now scarce and expensive.
“The only grapes that are available on the wholesale market are mostly the late Toifi variety, or small quantities of other varieties such as Husaini, “Lady’s finger” and “Pobeda”. Unlike previous years, when grape prices dropped in September, this year they are already increasing,” says Bakhtiyor Abduvokhidov, an international consultant for FAO.
Tajikistan has even started to import table grapes from Uzbekistan. Small trucks carry grapes from the Fergana region to the Sughd region of Tajikistan, which borders Uzbekistan. There, small wholesalers buy the grapes and transport them 500 km to Dushanbe. However, since the grapes are already expensive, intermediaries cut costs by not pre-cooling them and using vehicles without refrigeration, which affects the quality of the products. As a result, grape prices in Dushanbe are much higher than in Khujand.
“Grape traders expect that prices will continue to rise, and maybe even larger-scale imports from other countries will become profitable before the new year. Exports are out of the question now,” Bakhtiyor Abduvokhidov says.
He also notes that it will take at least three years for Tajikistan to recover its table grape production to last year’s level.