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Apricot of Tajikistan: Harvest Pleases, Prices Disappoint

An unprecedented yield of apricots has been grown in northern Tajikistan this year, with tree branches hanging to the ground under the weight of the fruit. However, farmers do not expect to profit well because of the low demand for apricots, Radio Ozodi reported. They admit they are forced to sell their produce at very low prices.

“The price of dried apricots for making juices is only 1-1.5 somoni per kg. The best varieties can be sold for 2-2.5 somoni per kg. Many varieties are local and taste very juicy and sweet. But if necessary, we sell at a lower price,” said Nizomiddin Mahkamov, an apricot seller.

Farmers in Sughd Province have not had a good harvest of apricots and other stone fruits for the past three years because the flowering took place earlier than usual. Last year, they lost the crop because of April frosts and snowfalls.

The apricot harvest season in Tajikistan lasts almost until the end of summer. The country has special apricots called “kandak” (“sugar”) because of their honey flavor. But even for this popular variety, demand is very low, farmers said. Tajikistan has had incredibly warm weather this year, contributing to a high apricot crop. However, due to the low demand for fresh apricots and dried fruits in Russia and the closure of the border with neighboring Kyrgyzstan, Tajik dehkans are forced to sell their produce at negligible prices.

Until 2021, Tajik farmers used to send hundreds of tons of apricots to other countries, especially Russia, through the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan. Now they are deprived of this opportunity due to the unilateral closure of the borders by the neighboring state,

On the other hand, according to farmers, because of the war in Ukraine, demand for Tajik apricots in Russia has fallen sharply. “We have to establish apricot exports to other countries, including Turkey and Iran. Demand for our apricots in Russia has decreased a lot,” said apricot seller Gufron Sharofov.

Sughd Oblast has more than 50,000 hectares of apricot orchards. Isfara, Kanibadam, Asht, Matchin, and Bobojon Gafurov districts mainly grow stone fruits.

Farmers in the Sughd region expect more than 100 thousand tons of apricots this season. Despite very low prices, according to official data, they send hundreds of tons of apricots to Russia and Kazakhstan daily to sell the grown crop and not go bankrupt.

Source: East Fruit