Unprecedented Apricot Harvest in Tajikistan in 2023 – Prices of Dried Fruits Are Collapsing

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According to the participants of the fruit and vegetable market of Tajikistan, after two consecutive lean years for apricots, in 2023 an unprecedented apricot harvest was obtained in the country. The harvest is so high that there is literally not enough people to harvest it, according to EastFruit.

According to the participants of the fruit and vegetable market of Tajikistan, after two consecutive lean years for apricots, in 2023 an unprecedented apricot harvest was obtained in the country. The harvest is so high that there is literally not enough people to harvest it, according to EastFruit.

“According to my estimates, about 30% of the apricots are still on the trees, because no one harvests it. The labor force costs has risen sharply this year, while the demand for the lease of the apricot orchards has fallen,” says Bakhtiyor Abduvokhidov, FAO international consultant. We wrote about this unique business model when people “lease apricot orchards” and pick and dry fruit in Tajikistan in the article “Kuraga – alternative currency of Tajikistan”. You can actually see the process of harvesting, drying and trading in this video, and the process of turning raw dried apricots into the final product in another follow-up video.

It should be noted that two lean years for apricots in Tajikistan led to a sharp increase in wholesale prices for dried apricots, which at the beginning of 2023 reached a record $8.33 per kg. However, at the end of April 2023, when it became clear that the apricot harvest would be very high, prices began to decline rapidly.

Currently, dried apricots are already being sold at $3.2 per kg, and this is already the lowest price for this type of dried fruit in the last three years. Moreover, dried apricots with pits fell in price to $1, although 6 months ago the price was $1.8/kg.

A further drop in the price of dried apricots is being held back by skyrocketing labor costs. At the moment, there are reports that, in some cases, workers are already being paid up to $10 per day, although they were paid $6 a year earlier. Despite higher pay, fewer people are interested in picking fruits.

By the way, the downward trend in demand for dried fruits is observed on the world market, as people prefer to buy fresh fruits, which becomes more readily available all year round. Also, frozen fruits and berries are becoming increasingly popular, as they retain all their qualities unlike the dried fruits. Accordingly, one of the options to solve the problem of oversupply of apricots in Tajikistan could be freezing, since frozen apricots are a popular product on the world market.

As you know, apricot in Tajikistan is a non-waste fruit. The main part of the apricot crop goes to production of the sundried fruits. Since the price of apricots has fallen, so have the prices of apricot pits, which are a by-product of dried fruit production. If earlier the price of an apricot stone was $0.6-0.7 US dollars per kg per kg, now it is already being sold for less than $0.4 per kg. The stone is then split on special equipment and the products are divided into a kernel and a husk. The apricot kernel is in good demand as a kind of substitute for almonds in the production of snacks.

Thus, in the current marketing year 2023/2024, a record increase in dried apricot exports from Tajikistan is expected due to the presence of large volumes and competitive prices.

Source: East Fruit