In January, the Moldovan market showed signs of declining prices for in-shell walnuts. The reasons for this situation were explained by Oleg Tyrsine, the chairman of the Union of Nut Growers Associations in Moldova to Agroexpert.
According to Mr Tyrsine, Moldova has exported mainly nut kernels for many years and only a small part (5-7%) of the total volume of external supplies of Moldovan walnut products accounted for in-shell nuts. However, in the last two or three years, exports to the European Union of high-quality in-shell walnuts from specialized walnut farms have gradually begun to increase. The heads of these farms had ambitious plans for the 2020 harvest. In October-November last year, they hoped to sell in-shell nuts to European buyers at a price not lower than 1.8-1.9 euros/kg.
However, at the end of last year, the demand for these products was low. For this reason, some walnut growers decided to sell their stocks of in-shell nuts for processing (i.e., splitting and sorting parts of kernels).
The population’s nut buyers traditionally become more active by the end of January collecting them in rural households, forests, and areas along roads. Yet, the quality of these products is often inferior to the quality from well-groomed walnut orchards and last year nature-grown nuts suffered greatly due to drought (many were small and had dark kernels inside the shell). Walnuts harvested in small batches from individuals go for processing and is exported abroad exclusively in the form of kernels by traders-exporters. It is not surprising that in the second half of winter, purchase prices for in-shell nuts are often reduced since they are usually stored in inappropriate conditions since autumn, which does not improve its quality.
However, according to Oleg Tyrsine, individual farms with large walnut orchards and infrastructure for the initial processing of nuts (e.g., cleaning away green peels, washing, drying, and sorting), began to supply French walnut varieties to the EU market in mid-January 2021 at a rather high price of more than 2 euro/kg. This once again confirms the idea that for a high-quality product, even in a sluggish market, there will be a buyer willing to pay a good price.
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