HomeNewsMoldova will not be able to sell all of its fresh apples in 2023/24 due to quality issues — experts

Moldova will not be able to sell all of its fresh apples in 2023/24 due to quality issues – experts

EastFruit reports that according to sources at Moldova Fruct Association, by mid-January 2024, at least 130 thousand tons of apples from last year’s harvest remained in the fruit storage facilities of Moldova. And calculations carried out by specialists from the Association of Fruit and Vegetable Processors Speranța Con show that by the time the autumn stage of the processing campaign was completed, processors in Moldova received about 280-300 thousand tons of apples. As AgroExpert writes, exports of Moldovan fresh apples in August-December 2023 were rather modest – about 39 thousand tons.

It is difficult to judge how much domestic market of Moldova consumed from August to December 2023, but we can probably be guided by the observation that during the season of relatively expensive apples like in 2023/24 season, their consumption is reduced. Moldova Fruct estimates that the domestic market of fresh apples in Moldova varies from 50 to 60 thousand tons per year.

Based on all these figures, we can conclude that the actual 2023 apple harvest in Moldova was close to the earlier expected level – 510-520 thousand tons. What does this mean?

First. In the last five years there were two seasons when the apple harvest in the Republic of Moldova was above 600 thousand tons, which is a lot more than in 2023. With a relatively low harvest in 2023 and quite active processing of these fruits, by mid-winter there were still quite a lot of apples left, as EastFruit estimated earlier. Accordingly, the relevance of the question does not decrease – what to do with the stocks?

Read also: Moldova’s apple stocks remain unusually high in January 2024

Second. Many in the fruit sector of the Republic of Moldova have high hopes for the activation of exports in the second half of winter and spring. There are prerequisites for this. In particular, since the middle of this month, according to Moldova Fruct, exports of Moldovan apples to the European market, primarily to Romania, and shipments of this product by sea to Middle East countries are gradually increasing. At the same time, despite the embargo, traders are finding loopholes for exports of apples from Moldova to the Russian Federation. However, industry organizations of fruit growers and fruit processors believe that “in the off-season, the supply of apples from refrigerators for processing will be significant.”

Third. The fresh apple segment of domestic retail in Moldova again has a shortage of quality apples. On the one hand, the range and quality of apples offered by many supermarkets is not wide and not high. On the other hand, retail prices for relatively good quality apples are firmly established in the range from one dollar to one euro per kilogram. That’s much higher than usual as apples have traditionally been the cheapest fruit in Moldova in the winter and they are not anymore.

«The true problem is that Moldova is struggling to find apples of suitable quality, which could be accepted in the markets of the EU, UAE, Saudi Arabia, etc, even if these apples are going to be sold via information marketing channels rather than supermarkets. Thus, it is very likely that processors in Moldova are going to resume production of apple juice concentrate in the spring”, concludes Andriy Yarmak, economist of FAO. 



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