Prices for mushrooms in Ukraine have reached unprecedented levels. Now producers give mushrooms to the buyers at the prices of 75-80 UAH (2.35-2.51 Euro) for kilogram, and at retail the price for a mushroom reaches 115 UAH \ kg. The second grade and open mushroom are sold from farms at prices from 40-50 UAH / kg.
In fact, the mushroom turned out to be the leader in rising prices among the most popular positions in the fruit and vegetable department. Potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, other vegetables and fruits went up by 10-50% compared to mid-February. The price of mushrooms has doubled. Even after Easter, when demand and prices tend to fall due to the end of Lent and the increase in the supply of seasonal vegetables, prices have not gone down.
The reasons for the rise are clear – there is very little supply of mushrooms on the market. Immediately after the war, all composting plants stopped soaking, including the largest Agaris plant in Ternopil region. Resumption of soaking began only after 2 weeks. And right now growers finish picking the first wave from these composts. According to the UMDIS Mushroom Information Agency, as of the end of April, no more than 20% of what would be in peacetime is offered on the market.
This proposal comes from those farms that continued to load compost in the first and second half of March. There are many cases when the harvest was delayed due to late applying of casing – often theit was applied on day 30 or more of incubation.
In the first half of May, a gradual increase in the supply of mushrooms is expected, but it will remain very, very limited. So in May, mushroom prices are likely to remain high. But in June, the supply of mushrooms will increase sharply, as the market will begin to have that mushroom, the start of compost for which was given in late April. And at the end of June 2022, we expect that the market will offer about half the amount of mushrooms inherent in this period in peacetime.
A halved supply in normal times would be a reason to expect sky-high prices, but on the demand side we are also seeing a huge reduction. There are reports of 17 million displaced people, including more than 5 million who have moved abroad. It is likely that up to 8 million people will leave Ukraine by June. And the majority of those who go abroad are women and children, namely women, are believed to prefer more “complex” dishes containing mushrooms. In addition, even those who remain in Ukraine are likely to reduce their demand for mushrooms due to the need to save money. The closure of a large part of public catering establishments is also not the least factor in the decline in demand – we do not have accurate information, but most likely about half of public catering establishments in Ukraine do not work.
So will the prices of mushrooms in June be high enough to cover the cost of production and making a profit? This largely depends on how events develop at the military front. Firstly – how many people and businesses will be able to return to normal life. Secondly, it will depend on the economic support of Western partners and its distribution by the Ukrainian government – whether the population will have enough money to ensure a high level of consumption. Thridly it will depend on the expectations and mood in society – the better and more optimistic the mood, the greater the demand.
Of course, prices will depend on the amount of mushrooms. As we have indicated, by the end of May, shipments of compost from composting plants will reach about 50% of the normal level. In June, according to composting plants, their shipments will also amount to 30 to 60% of the normal production plan, an average of about 55%.
On the one hand, mushroom farmers look with envy at their colleagues who have product today, on the other hand they understand that such high prices encourage also others to order compost, so there is a high risk that there will be too many mushrooms on the market and prices will not be so sweet. .
In our opinion, if Ukraine wins in May and the country becomes safe enough, the supply of mushrooms will be insufficient and prices will be high. If the victory has to wait a little longer, the offer may be excessive, and prices will be bad.
The last two times, those who bet on an optimistic scenario have received significant gains. Those who decided in March 2020, during the most severe quarantine of COVID, to continue working – broke the jackpot in June 2020, which had record prices. The same thing happened in April this year – those who were able to work in March and were not afraid to load up with compost, received significant profits in April. Note, however, that the decision to continue working in March or not, in the second case more often did not depend on the management of the farm, but more on the situation in a particular locality.
Let’s hope that the optimists will still win. We bet on victory!