Sea buckthorn harvesting began in Moldova last week. According to the observations of the staff of the Pomușoarele Moldovei Association of Berry Growers, this year, thanks to good weather conditions, drought-resistant sea buckthorn produced an abundant harvest of high-quality berries (with a high sugar content). However, it is far from certain that there will be more marketable products from the 2023 harvest in the Moldovan market.
According to expert estimates, the total area of sea buckthorn plantations is close to 200 hectares. In addition, the country has a lot of wild sea buckthorn, which, along with other “dry” berries (rowan, rosehip) and nuts from forest belts, becomes an object of “hunting” for rural residents. As a result, according to EastFruit, at least a hundred tons of sea buckthorn enter the Moldavian market every year.
Usually, the berry is sold in fresh and processed form (blended juices, oils, soufflé-additive to honey, organic dye) in a 50/50 ratio. Until recently, a significant part of fresh and processed sea buckthorn was exported from Moldova to the markets of the CIS countries, mainly to the Russian market. This year, buyers from these countries are ready to buy sea buckthorn and other dry berries at low prices. As a result, purchase prices for sea buckthorn for export on the Moldovan market decreased by approximately 15-20% to an average of 80 lei/kg ($4.44/kg). Producers consider this wholesale price level low, given the difficulty of hiring expensive labor for the labor-intensive harvesting of prickly sea buckthorn.
Moldovan farmers supply small quantities of processed sea buckthorn to the EU market (Romania). However, the average European consumer is unfamiliar with this berry and its processed products.
As a result, this year’s main market for Moldovan sea buckthorn is the local HoReCa sector (herbal teas), processed – visitors to weekend farmer markets, and clients of direct delivery.
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