Judging by EastFruit price monitoring, after a month and a half of stagnation, the price for yellow onions in Moldova has risen by 8-9% over the past week – on average to 8.5 MDL/kg ($0.43/kg). Before the price rise (obviously not the last one in the current marketing season), onions of the 2022 crop were the most expensive in the last five years. It is more curious that onions in Moldova have risen in price at the end of November or at the beginning of December three times over the past five years.
At the same time, the operators of the country’s fruit and vegetable market claim that the start of winter is not a traditional reason for the rise in the price of onions. The traditional seasonal price fluctuations in the regional onion market are February and April (in the first case, the price rises due to a sharp decrease in stored commodity stocks of last year’s local onions, in the second – due to the entry of expensive imported winter onions into the market). Onions on the Moldovan market become more expensive at the beginning of winter only in years of low production and in case of other reasons specific to the year – like it is in 2022.
As EastFruit previously reported, experts estimate that the area planted with onions and other vegetables of the “borscht set” in Moldova did not decrease in 2022 compared to 2021. Onions were sown on about 1 200-1 500 ha. But within this total sown area small farmers increased the area, some large farmers reduced it or even completely abandoned the onion production (in their opinion, in comparison with other vegetables of the “borsch set”, onions are more demanding in terms of protection against diseases, conditions of harvesting, storage and sale). As a result, the production of marketable onions in the current year in Moldova has most likely decreased.
Another important feature of the current marketing season is the intensive exports of Moldovan onions to Ukraine in autumn. Despite Moldovan onions being still cheaper than Ukrainian and Polish ones, their exports have been completed by now (export-quality products have ended). There are no large onion imports to Moldova yet due to high transport costs and the low solvency of the local market.
Given the low stocks of local onions for the domestic market and the expensive import of onions (and of all other vegetables), prices are likely to rise smoothly in winter. If there are additional force majeure situations, prices will rise abruptly.
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