The first strawberries from local greenhouses arrived on the Moldovan market in the last week of April. So far, these are trial small batches, the wholesale price for which has not been confirmed.
The wholesale price for strawberries will most likely be higher than at the beginning of last year’s season when they were sold at about 65 MDL/kg ($ 3.63/kg). In this regard, it is worth considering that last year the first local strawberries arrived on the Moldovan market approximately three weeks earlier than this year. Their price fluctuated in the range of 80-90 MDL/kg ($ 4.49-5.05/kg). In 2021, producers seem determined to compete for customers and higher prices.
We also note that in neighboring Ukraine, the first greenhouse strawberries also arrived on the market with a delay, but two weeks earlier than in Moldova. The prices for Ukrainian greenhouse strawberries are at the level of $ 7.9 per kg.
The season of active sales of new harvest strawberries on the Moldovan market started with a low price at the beginning of the second week of March. Wholesale supermarket chains bought imported strawberries at 70-75 MDL/kg ($ 4.0-4.2/kg), i.e. about 25-30% cheaper than at the beginning of the 2020 season. At that time, retail prices did not exceed 100-110 MDL/kg ($ 5.71-6.28/kg), which is two times lower than the retail price at the beginning of March last year.
EastFruit price monitoring shows that the Greek and Turkish strawberries in the Moldovan wholesale steadily became cheaper from the first week of April by an average of 5 MDL/kg per week: 60 MDL/kg to 40 MDL/kg ($ 3.35/kg – $ 2, 23/kg).
Prices in retail chains dropped to 75-90 MDL/kg ($ 4.1-5.02/kg) by the end of the month. However, according to berry market operators, the prices for imported strawberries are likely to stabilize at this level, and possibly even increase slightly.
According to the “Pomușoarele Moldovei” Association of Berry Producers, heads of large farms growing greenhouse strawberries close to Chisinau will try to agree on stable supplies of berries to supermarket chains in the capital this week. The outcome of the negotiations is not yet clear.
On one hand, retailers have an alternative – relatively cheap imported strawberries. Their quality is unstable. Compared to the beginning of the month, the quality of imported strawberries visually decreased (as noted above, prices also decreased) in many supermarkets by the end of April.
On the other hand, supermarkets will return to the “zone of high competition for the consumer” in May, they will have to offer their customers a choice not only in terms of price, but also in terms of the quality of the assortment of strawberries. Moldova finally had a tangible easing of the restrictions due to pandemics at the end of April – open fruit and vegetable markets and catering establishments were allowed to return to their usual pre-crisis work schedule. Consequently, a part of consumers will return to the markets in search of good priced berries and a high quality grade. In such a situation, chain retailers will be interested in having fresher and more ripe strawberries grown in local greenhouses in their stores.
Meanwhile, the first greenhouse strawberries in small volumes – 3-5 kg with targeted delivery at home or to the specified places in Chisinau, is offered by Moldovan farmers no cheaper than 100-120 MDL/kg ($ 5.58-6.70/kg). At the beginning of this week, prices for the first local strawberries were in the same range in some fruit and vegetable shops in the suburbs of the capital. Judging by the responses in social networks, communicators and on specialized Internet websites created by individual commodity producers and fruit growers’ associations last year, despite the high price, the demand for the first Moldovan strawberries is quite high.
Taking this into account, it can be assumed that at least some supermarket chains will not demand local farmers to reduce wholesale prices to a level comparable to or below the May level of last year.
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