EastFruit reviews Georgian trade data with seed potatoes. As reported earlier by EastFruit, many local farmers have switched to onions for the new season as in the last season the onions from the June harvest were more profitable than the potatoes from the same period. Despite the latter, seed potato imports are one of the largest in recent years. As before, output from these seeds won’t take up a large share of the total potato production.
Seed import volumes in this pre-season (December-April) are 45% higher than the previous 9-year average for the same months, and the highest since 2015.
Seed potato imports to Georgia usually kick in in December. Most active months for imports are February, March, and April. Imports peak in April, then fall significantly in May, and there are practically no imports until the next December.
According to the official trade data, in this pre-season, monthly import prices (CIF – Cost, Insurance, Freight) range from $0.80-$1.00. In year-on-year terms, this is a growth of about 5-10%, however, prices in Georgian Lari have reduced due to the strengthening of Georgia’s currency.
Similarly to the previous years, currently the seed potatoes are imported from Germany and Netherlands. Seeds from the EU are deemed to provide the best quality potatoes on the Georgian market. Generally, the farmers who have imported over the years have found that demand for quality potatoes can be good, and focusing on quality pays well. Hence we get strong imports of seed potatoes even in times when there are talks about a significant amount of farmers switching to onions.
As before, quality potatoes from the EU seeds will not take up a large share of the Georgian market. About 1 800 tons of seed potatoes have been imported since December 2022. A kilogram of seeds is expected to give 10 kilograms of potatoes. Given there will also be some imports in May 2023, output from the imported seeds will exceed 18 000 tons. For comparison, total potato output in Georgia usually fluctuates around 200 000 tons.