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What is going on with apple export diversification in Moldova?

The other day, Vladimir Bolea, the new Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry of the Republic of Moldova (MAIA), indirectly admitted during a meeting with the farmers of Gagauzia that there is no alternative to traditional markets for Moldovan apples in the short term. According to him, if earlier “we exported about 95% of our apples to the Russian market”, then in the first half of 2022 their export to Russia for obvious reasons “fell to 70%, but this is still a very large percentage”. Even though Moldovan apple producers have entered the Saudi Arabian market and are currently negotiating preferential fruit exports with the Egyptian government, the Moldovan authorities are “looking for new markets not to replace the existing ones, but to supplement them.”

Commenting on these statements by the head of MAIA, the heads of agricultural producers’ organizations note that in terms of diversifying apple exports, the country achieved good results in the spring and summer of 2022. So, Moldovan apples were exported to 18 countries during the same period last year, and this year – to 28 countries. The redistribution of the l volumes of deliveries was mentioned above. In this regard it is worth considering that the export of apples from the Republic of Moldova to Romania in the first half of 2022 amounted to more than 8 000 tonnes, whereas exports in the previous three years did not exceed 2 000 tonnes annually. And the supply of Moldovan apples to the markets of the Middle East countries for the specified period of the current year increased from zero to more than 1 000 tonnes. However, according to representatives of farmers’ associations, it would be naive to believe that Moldova will be find an alternative to the CIS markets for the export of about 150 000-200 000 tonnes of apples in the marketing year 2022-2023.

Earlier, EastFruit reported that the 2022 apple harvest in Moldova (380 000-420 000 tonnes) may be one of the lowest in the five years. More recently, at the Prognosfruit conference, the executive director of Moldova Fruct, Iurie Fale, announced a more optimistic forecast – 485 000 tonnes. Product quality is likely to be varying. Nevertheless, the heads of organizations of growers and traders hope that the country’s export resource will not decrease much – apples for the “fresh market” will account for a larger percentage in the structure of sales, and a smaller one for processing.

Egypt is emphasized in the plans of growers and traders for the new marketing season since its market can accept apples of both premium and ordinary quality. However, the visit of the head of the Moldovan Foreign Ministry to Egypt, scheduled last month, did not take place due to technical reasons. A visit of Moldovan business associations to Egypt is planned soon. An interstate agreement is also necessary, after which trial exports will become possible, although this process is not fast. At best, the regular export of Moldovan apples to Egypt might start in the second half of autumn.

EastFruit

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