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Potatoes fell in price in Moldova. Will this trend last long?

The wholesale price for last year’s potatoes on the Moldovan market decreased by about 7% last week – to 6.5 MDL/kg ($0.34/kg) on average. However, the downward trend is unstable – the prices in the wholesale and retail markets of Chisinau fluctuate up and down in the range of 0.5-1 MDL/kg almost every day this week.

EastFruit monitoring shows that since the end of January, the price dynamics in the Moldovan potato market have been developing in two-week cycles – an increase in price is replaced by a decrease by about the same amount. Forecasts of market traders for March are contradictory: abnormally warm weather and weak demand from buyers may cause a further gradual decline in prices, while low stocks of potatoes from local farmers and the lack of supplies from Ukraine and Poland can lead to stabilization and even a gradual rise in prices.

It is worth considering that the current average price for potatoes in Moldova is at its maximum level for this time over five years. Moreover, the prices are maximum both in lei (MDL) and in dollar terms. In previous years, the price of potatoes usually rose gradually in March. However, in March 2023, an increase in the price of potatoes is not guaranteed: the potential for price growth (already high for all vegetables of the “borscht set”) is severely limited by the low purchasing power of the population. An important detail is that potatoes in Moldova are one of the most expensive among potatoes in European countries of EastFruit price monitoring. Potato prices are higher only in Georgia ($0.69/kg).

Although wholesale potatoes in Ukraine cost half as much ($0.16/kg), there are practically no supplies to Moldova now, market operators say. In autumn and early winter, traders from the western regions of Ukraine imported large volumes of potatoes to Moldova and exported onions. Currently, the Moldovan market mainly receives grain (transit) and livestock products from Ukraine, and local farmers have nothing to offer to Ukraine for the return loading.

In this regard, it is indicative that high-quality (washed, sorted, packaged) potatoes of Ukrainian production almost disappeared from some supermarket chains in Chisinau in March. On the other hand, large volumes of local Moldavian potatoes of average quality became available.

EastFruit

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