The 2021 season of watermelons in Moldova started in early June – a week earlier than last year. It was surprising, given the sharp transition “from winter to summer”, high temperature and drought in mid-spring 2020. This year, market players explain the early start of melons and gourds by “atypical imports” from Turkey and the Balkans, whereas in previous years the main supplier of the earliest watermelons on the Moldovan market were the southern regions of Ukraine. At the same time, the starting prices, 14-16 MDL/kg ($ 0.77-0.88/kg), were lower than in the past – 18-19 MDL/kg ($ 1-1.01/kg). From the middle of last month until the end of the second decade of July, prices for watermelons in Moldova were kept at the level of 4.50-6.0 MDL/kg ($ 0.25-0.33/kg), which is comparable to the relatively high prices last season in the same period. However, the players of the Moldovan produce market assume that the prices for watermelons will decrease significantly in the near future. There are at least three reasons.
Firstly, Moldovan watermelon grown in open field, became available on the local market more than a week ago. In the coming days, rains and a cold snap are expected in Moldova, but hot weather will restore by the end of this week. This will accelerate the maturations of watermelons. In addition, significant supplies of Kherson watermelons to Moldova will begin in the coming days, although with some delay. As a result, more watermelons will appear on the Moldovan market, and prices will definitely decrease.
Secondly, agricultural areas for vegetables and melons in Moldova have been expanding over the past two years. Along with household vegetable growing, which provides the main increase in areas, there are regions traditionally specializing in the cultivation of watermelons: Anenii Noi and Hancesti – in the center, in the north – Singerei, etc. This year, melons and gourds under agril are still produced on significant areas there.
Thirdly, the producers of fruit crops have noticed a decrease in domestic demand in Moldova for almost all fruit, vegetable and berry crops for several weeks. Consumers are willing to wait for a price cut.
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