Light walnut halves were sold in a price range of 230-250 MDL/kg ($13.1-14.2/kg) in the Chisinau markets last weekend.
The Union of Associations of Nut Crops Producers UAPCN claims that retail prices have set a historical record, which was previously 180-200 MDL/kg ($10.5-11.7/kg) and was listed for local and imported vacuum-packed walnut kernels sold only in the middle and premium segment market chains.
UAPCN members consider the rise in retail prices for kernels to be “abnormal but predictable.” There are several reasons for this. One of them appeared at the beginning of autumn. Due to precipitation, very dense grass has grown in walnut forest belts and along the roads, which greatly complicated the harvesting of nuts. As a result, the supply of walnuts decreased, and retail prices for walnut kernels increased at the end of October.
Another reason for the shortage of supply and the rise in prices for walnut kernels in Moldovan retail is that specialized walnut farms actually ignore it. Farmers sell almost all walnut kernels to exporting traders at a stable wholesale price – about 120 MDL/kg ($6.86/kg). Only a few of them sometimes agree to work on online sales with targeted delivery of goods to a client, and mostly inshell walnuts – in order to save money on processing the walnuts. Nevertheless, retail prices for inshell walnuts sold this way are approximately twice as high as those offered to exporters (the price for them is not higher than 30-35 MDL/kg, $1.71-2/kg).
UAPCN is confident that the abnormally high retail prices for walnuts are unlikely to hold out for too long: “only until a deal of one of the exporters with a European buyer falls and kernels that have not been sold in this way will be sent to the domestic market”. The current period of high prices is unlikely to be an incentive for the purposeful systemic business of selling walnuts on the domestic market, since “in Moldova there is always a possibility of an oversupply of walnut kernels”.
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