The FINANCIAL -- In month-to-month terms, domestically produced VEGETABLE prices have been increasing since September 2017, and the positive change for January 2018 equaled 7.1%. Nevertheless, for the first time since December 2016, the year-to-year change became negative (-13.4%).
A large share of the decline in year-to-year prices were derived from an 8% drop in cucumber prices, a 17% drop in tomato prices, and an almost 50% drop in eggplant prices, compared to January 2017. The international trade data explains the changes in tomato and eggplant prices fairly well — according to GeoStat, the trade balance (export - import) for tomato and eggplant worsened by 168,900 USD and 52,600 USD, respectively. However, the trade balance is counterintuitive for cucumber, as it improved by 35,900 USD from January 2017 to January 2018.
Unlike the products above, prices of some major vegetables in the Georgian diet have increased since last January. Namely, domestically produced potatoes gained more than one-third of their price in the last 12-month period, while carrots gained almost 15%, and haricot beans, more than 12%. Although production quantities for the previous year are not available yet, according to GeoStat’s express data, the total sown area for potatoes, vegetables, and melons decreased by 7% in 2017 (2.7 thousand hectares), which possibly led to lower production and, consequentially, higher prices for these products.