Representatives of Moldovan agricultural producers’ organizations highlight several factors that can significantly affect the prices of cherries on the domestic market in early summer 2021. However, not all of them share the opinion that prices for local cherries at the beginning of the marketing season will be significantly lower than last year that was noted for a low production.
According to the EastFruit wholesale price monitoring, at the end of May/begging of June 2020, the level of average wholesale prices for cherries, depending on their size, fluctuated within 30-40 MDL/kg ($ 1.70-2.27/kg), and a year earlier – 14-30 MDL/kg ($ 0.77-1.66/kg). Experts of fruit producers’ associations explain the difference in price levels by a significant exchange rate difference, and lower production in 2020. Last year, due to spring frosts, it was already clear at the beginning of the season that there would be big losses, and this was confirmed later. According to estimates, the harvest of cherries in Moldova reached 11 thousand tons in 2020, almost half of about 20 thousand tons in 2019.
This year, the weather conditions are still favorable for cherry producers and cherries have so far suffered from frost and hail less than in 2020. Nevertheless, fruit growers associations note that in Moldova, only a few agricultural enterprises have cherry orchards equipped with anti-hail nets and anti-rain films. Meanwhile, in the last decade of May 2021, precipitation is regular almost everywhere in the country. There are already cases of the spread of diseases in stone fruit orchards. In this regard, the quality of the cherry harvest and its prices are an open question.
It is also worth considering that the sector of early stone fruit production in Moldova is much more export-oriented than the sector of early berries (strawberry). Horticultural farms, even if there are only a few hectares of intensive or semi-intensive cherry orchards, according to the heads of fruit growers’ associations, “will obviously prefer to sell their products to exporters than to search options within the country.” From this point of view, the export of early cherries will be intensive, even if exporters will pay in bulk no more than 30-35 MDL/kg, while wholesale prices for the domestic market will not be less than 40 MD/kg.
Since prices for sweet cherries in the EU remain high this year due to huge crop losses caused by weather, export opportunities for Moldova are going to be better than usual. EastFruit analysts earlier pointed out the opportunities for Moldova and Ukraine to export cherries to Italy but other EU countries will have good demand for this fruit during the season as well.
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