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Exported Tomatoes Four Times Cheaper Than those Sold in Armenia

The customs value of a kilogram of tomatoes exported from Armenia to Russia in the winter months of this year was 200 drams, as evidenced by official statistics from the database of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Hayk Grigoryan, an economic analyst with the local Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper, writes.

“In the first quarter of this year, about 8,300 tons of tomatoes were exported from Armenia to Russia, the total customs value of which amounted to 3 378 000 dollars. We divide the last number by the first and get a price of 40 cents per kilogram, which is 200 drams, and even slightly less.

“During the same period, the retail price of a kilogram of tomatoes in Armenia did not decrease from 1,300 drams, and sometimes even exceeded 1,700. The wholesale price of a tomato with a retail price of 1300-1700 drams can not be lower than 800-900 drams. This wholesale price should be as close to the customs value of exported tomatoes as possible. And it turns out that the price of exported tomatoes was almost 4 times lower than that in the domestic market.

“This, to put it mildly, is absurd. This price difference can have only two reasons: either the large businesses operating in the tomato market took advantage of the fact that tomatoes produced in other countries, particularly in Turkey, cannot be imported to Armenia and put the pieces as high as they wished to, or these official statistics are inaccurate. The third option is that they are both selling exorbitantly priced tomatoes and faking the statistics,” Girgoryan writes.