In late January-early February 2021, the next stage of potato wholesale prices growth began in Moldova. However, it was only the cheapest locally produced potatoes that rose in the price from 3 lei/kg to 3.5-4.0 lei/kg ($0.21-0.24/kg). At this moment last year, the minimum wholesale price for this product was significantly higher – about 5 lei/kg ($0.3/kg). Analyzing the price dynamics of previous years, agricultural producers hoped that in February 2021, the growth of prices for locally produced potatoes would continue. However, since the beginning of the second week of the month, potatoes’ prices in the country’s domestic market have stabilized contrary to expectations. Moreover, according to wholesale buyers-intermediaries and retailers, there are no reasons to expect that potato prices increase in the near future.
According to the operators of the Moldovan fruit and vegetable market, the problem of the absence of the traditional price increase in the last month of winter this year is associated with the extremely low demand for potatoes from HoReCa, social institutions, as well as the population of small towns and villages. According to farmers, intermediary wholesalers supplying public catering, kindergartens, hospitals, etc., purchased only 50-70% of the volumes of products based on the contractual agreements.
Besides, the hope for an increase in consumer demand due to labour migrants did not come true. According to fruit and vegetable sellers, many villagers working abroad at the end of last year did not return home for the winter holidays out of fears that they would not return to their jobs later because of another lockdown.
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