The Speranta-Con Cannery Producers Association in Moldova stated that after temperatures fell to almost zero in January and early February, the supply of apples from refrigerated storage to Moldovan canning factories for processing will increase by the end of this month. Also, in March-April, this process will continue and most likely intensify.
At first glance, their optimism is surprising. According to the estimates by specialists from producer and trader organizations, approximately 180,000-200,000 tons of apples were stored in refrigerators by the end of autumn last year. On average, this is 50,000-70,000 tons less than in the previous 2-3 years. Due to the lack of supply of relatively inexpensive and more or less high-quality apples in the domestic market, the largest supermarket chains started importing this product into the country last autumn. Consequently, one would assume that even if retail does not have enough cheap local apples, the chances of processors being able to purchase products from refrigerators at local farms are generally scarce. However, Speranta-Con thinks differently. In their opinion, there are at least three prerequisites to be relied upon for an increase in supplies of industrial apples in the spring.
Firstly, the sharp decrease in the volume and quality of the apple harvest due to drought (from 610,000 tons in 2019 to 430,000 tons in 2020) last year, many apples of the second quality category as well as small ones were stored in refrigerators. The hope that the demand for these products in Russia will be high in winter was only partially justified. As noted by the largest Moldovan traders, their Russian partners-buyers are concerned about the high stock balances of local farmers due to the declining effective demand of end consumers. Traders in Russia expect high-quality from imported products at reasonable prices. Therefore, there is a possibility that a certain amount of Moldovan apples of low quality intended for exports will eventually be sold on the domestic market, including for processing.
Secondly, market operators draw attention to the fact that an increase in the supply of apples for processing often is a side effect from increased exports. In the process of preparing export consignments in refrigerators, additional sorting is usually carried out. As a result, any rejection apples are sold to canneries instead. From this point of view, low supplies of apples for processing in January-February is also an indicator that the exports of dessert apples are relatively low and not reaching previous years winter levels (20,000-30,000 tons per month).
Speranta-Con representatives state that in regards to industrial apples for applesauce, for example, Orhei-Vit would be in the best position for wanting to purchase tens of tons of raw materials per day. At worst, concentrate producers such as T.B. Fruit and others need a guaranteed supply of hundreds of tons of apples per day for the rhythmic work of factories.
Finally, the third reason for the forecasted spring supply of apples to processing plants is the rejection of products with expiring shelf life. The volumes of such products in the last 2-3 years have been small with 3-5% of the tonnage pledged for storage but possibly more this year.
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