Wholesale prices for watermelon have been declining quite rapidly on the Moldovan market. Judging by the weekly wholesale price monitoring of EastFruit, the average price for watermelons during the past decreased by 20% – to 4 lei /kg ($0.23/kg) from 5-6 lei / kg ($ 0.28-0.34 / kg) in the previous couple of weeks. Market players remain pessimistic about the watermelon price prospects. Almost certainly until the end of August 2023, prices will keep going down.
In general, this is a common situation for seasons with normal conditions (weather, logistics, etc.). However, in August 2022, watermelons in Moldova were getting more expensive in August, and this process continued until early September thanks to exports to Ukraine, where traditional production regions were still occupied by Russian army, EastFruit informs.
In 2022 Moldova also exported a large volume of watermelons to Ukraine in July-August, which was a serious factor supporting watermelon prices in Moldova. In the Moldovan market, watermelons are still more expensive than in the Ukrainian by about 24-26%. Although the supply of local late-ripening watermelons is growing on the Ukrainian market, prices are falling. In general, according to EastFruit analysts, in Ukraine watermelon prices in August are significantly lower than last year’s level in the same month, but still significantly higher than the usual August level of previous years. Ukrainian farmers have sharply expanded the area under watermelons in central regions but earlier supplies are were still limited because traditional production areas in the south are still occupied and Russians have destroyed the dam and irrigation system, which was used in watermelon production.
At the same time, supplies of this product from Moldova to the south-east of Ukraine, in particular, to the Odessa region, have significantly decreased since the middle of this month. According to traders, this is mainly due to insufficient margins for exports to the Ukrainian market. It is also due to a reduction in the volumes of export-quality watermelons from specialized farms in Moldova. The problem is that in some of them plantations were badly damaged by hail. As a result, the main part of the remaining products can only be sold on the local market to the unpretentious consumer.
It is also worth noting that the diaspora and labor migrants returned to Moldova during the August holidays. They exchange euros and dollars for Moldovan lei, due to which the exchange rate of the national currency has temporarily strengthened, obviously not in favor of the exports of fruits. Also, when analyzing the price dynamics for the local fruits, berries, and vegetables, it makes sense to consider that in the last ten days of August, the flow of Moldovan tourists to Romania and other EU countries sharply increases. That is, the demand for food during this period will decrease for a short time.
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