In early September, growers in Moldova started harvesting apples of the Gala variety. Some large growers are planning to send first apples to Russia by the end of the first week of September without the mediation of local traders/exporters. The price range is 6-7 MDL/kg ($ 0.38-0.39/kg). It depends, first of all, on different clones of Gala. As farmers say, “the redder the fruit, the higher the price.”
Concurrently, some big traders began to purchase Gala apples for export from the very first days of harvesting. Purchase prices offered to farmers are 5-6.5 MDL/kg ($ 0.28-0.36/kg), if delivered to sorting centers of buying companies in containers. According to the heads of large agricultural enterprises, these traders take apples in bulk even from farmers who have post-harvest infrastructure and could sort or pack fruits at their own bases. Apparently, the reason is that traders have orders for apples of a certain quality in a container of a certain type.
As EastFruit reported, at the end of last month, one of the Moldovan traders, working closely with Russian supermarket chains, offered local farmers a very high price, 10 MDL/kg ($ 0.56/kg), for Gala apples of at least 70 mm caliber, in European-style cardboard boxes. But apparently, this was an isolated case.
However, given the rather high yield of Gala apples this year, the growers in the “apple” regions of northern Moldova consider prices established at the beginning of the 2021 harvesting “adequate even for high-quality apples – from orchards that did not suffer from hail and scab”. The prices for Gala apples, even of low quality, were significantly higher at this time last year- 7-8 MDL/kg ($ 0.42-0.48/kg). But the growers admit that apple prices in Moldova in September 2020 were “overstated due to the projected low yield and expected high demand for Moldovan apples in Russia in winter.”
In 2019, when MDL/$ exchange rate was similar, the starting purchase prices for Gala apples on the Moldovan market ($ 0.33-0.39/kg) were approximately the same as this year. These two seasons are likely to be similar in terms of apple production: in 2019 – 610 thousand tons, in 2021 – presumably about 600 thousand tons.
Experts note that, despite the slightly delayed start of harvesting, the weather conditions are favorable for it. Nevertheless, they recommend that it be carried out in a short time, since rains in early September can affect the quality of the fruits.
According to expert estimates, in Moldova, varieties of the Gala group account for about 7% out of the total 50 thousand hectares of fruit-bearing apple orchards.
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