From the very beginning of January of this year, fresh strawberries are sold in supermarkets and fresh boutiques in Chisinau. There are both imported (Greek), and local (grown with the hydroponic method by several small Moldovan farms) strawberries. The retail price is surprising – 130-140 MDL/kg ($7.2-7.7/kg). Since 2020, the prices for winter strawberries in Moldovan retail chains have decreased significantly compared to pre-pandemic times. But until this year, they did not fall below 150-160 MDL/kg ($8.5-8.8/kg) in winter. Berry growers are not particularly worried about this, as they are sure that local consumers perceive Moldovan early strawberries from greenhouses or open field plantations differently, EastFruit writes. Nevertheless, low prices for winter, mainly imported berries, still affect the start of sales of local strawberries. They will have to be taken into account.
According to the Pomușoarele Moldovei Association of Berry Producers, the abnormally low prices for strawberries in the winter of 2023 have two reasons. The first is the dramatic decline in the purchasing power of Moldovans, which seems to be a long-term trend in this case. On the other hand, imported strawberries of low quality are supplied at a low price (which Moldovan producers of hydroponics strawberries are forced to have regard to).
The second reason for the reduction in the price of winter strawberries in Moldovan retail is the availability of an alternative – imported blueberries. Their price is at least 1.5-2 times higher. But the proximity of these berries on the shelves of supermarkets for the target consumer segment has become usual over the past two or three years, and buyers react positively to the variety of goods.
According to experts from the Pomușoarele Moldovei Association, this leads to the following conclusion. In the current and next seasons, it makes sense for berry farmers to focus on agrotechnological practices that contribute to the earliest possible entry of products to the market to bring the high season as close as possible to the off-season and the period of extra-early berry sales. This applies to strawberries and to raspberries and blackberries.
It is noteworthy in this regard that, according to expert estimates, the sales of early and late remontant strawberries are 4-5 times lower than in the high season. Nevertheless, the average price of seasonal strawberries is also 2-3 times lower.
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