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How Moldova’s apple prices compare to neighboring countries, and what factors affect them

The wholesale prices of apples in Moldova have hardly changed over the past week. The only exception is “Idared”, the average price of this variety’s fruits has slightly decreased – by 5-6%, while the price range remained the same – 5-6 lei/kg ($0.3-0.35/kg). At the same time, late varieties of apples appeared in large quantities on the Moldovan market at an average price close to the average level of prices in the same period for the last three years – 7 lei/kg ($0.39/kg). In general, apples on the Moldovan market at the end of October 2023 are more expensive, especially in terms of dollars, than in the previous two years. But they are less expensive than in the same dry year of 2020.

Earlier, analysts from EastFruit noted that in Moldova, as well as in neighboring Ukraine, the wholesale prices of apples began to rise from mid-October. However, on the Moldovan market, some popular varieties (Idared, Golden Delicious) are less expensive than on the Ukrainian market. Although the price fluctuations on the Ukrainian market are higher, as a result, one or another variety (for example, Gala) can be more expensive or cheaper from week to week.

According to representatives of non-governmental organizations of fruit growers, several factors prevent a more pronounced increase in wholesale prices of apples in Moldova. The first and probably the main one is numerous problems related to apple supplies to the Russian market. At the same time, exports to the second most important market for Moldovan apples – Romania, are also small so far. As traders note, there is still an active supply of local apples on the Romanian market, including sales from orchards and from fruit storage facilities. And apples from Moldova are usually considered by buyers as a cheap alternative to local ones, not as imported products of another, higher price category.

Read also: Apple growing in Australia is dying because prices haven’t grown for 20 years

The second factor is “working on fruit storage”, most of the dessert apples of late varieties are currently being stored. Among other things, this process is facilitated by favorable weather conditions – in Moldova it is summer-like warm and dry autumn. The harvest is going at a measured, calm pace, and, judging by the feedback from farmers, it will continue for at least another week or two. Although meteorologists warn that in two weeks the weather in the country will change sharply, a transition “from summer to winter” is possible.

The third factor is that the tension from the fresh market is effectively relieved by apple supplies for processing. As market operators claim that “Moldovan factories for apple concentrate production are working at full capacity”. This is facilitated by an increase in purchase prices: in August-September prices ranged from 2-2.2 lei/kg, in October – 2.3-2.4 lei/kg ($0.12-0.13/kg, with VAT and delivery to the factory). For a certain contingent of farmers, apple supplies for processing at such a price seem to be a more reliable option than waiting for better price offers from traders-exporters.

EastFruit

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