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Greenhouse vegetables from Central Asia: which ones and where to export?

Potential markets for fruit and vegetables in Central Asia are the Baltic countries, as well as Ukraine and Belarus. The dynamics of recent years show that the growth of imports from Central Asia to Ukraine is in double digits. Greenhouse vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers are important for Ukraine and peppers are a hot niche in a long-term perspective.

These ideas were expressed by Fedir Rybalko, an expert in the agricultural market, during a virtual training on the effective organization of promotion and packaging of fruit and vegetables for export. The event was organized by the USAID Central Asia Competitiveness, Trade and Jobs Activity Project (CTJ).

“When trading with Ukraine and Belarus, Central Asia has a competitive advantage – no customs duties. Besides, Ukrainian consumers are loyal to products from these countries. As income rises, consumption of pepper rises. Tomato and cucumber remain an important market segment. Consumers often go to the retail stores where a wide range of tomatoes is available,” Fedir Rybalko said.

The expert explained the main factors affecting the quality of tomatoes. Firstly, a certain temperature should be maintained till tomatoes arrive in the retail network or in the markets. “The temperature during the two-week storage is important. If it is below 10°C, damage to tomatoes may occur. They are normally stored at a temperature of 10 and 15°C. Storing tomatoes at 20°C and above leads to a deterioration in their quality,” Fedir explains.

Secondly, postharvest ripening is very important for tomatoes, especially when it comes to long-distance transportation. 

“The Dutch came up with the idea of ​​wrapping tomatoes in a glass with a semicircular lid about 15 years ago. In fact, it is an element of the snack culture. Convenient packaging reduces the time of consumption, which attracts buyers and stimulates demand,” he noted. 

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