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Why are onions expensive in Moldova and why will prices remain high?

On the Moldovan fruit and vegetable market, for more than a month, the level of average wholesale prices for yellow onions has not fallen below 8 MDL/kg ($0.41/kg). The prices in August were  almost twice as high as last year ($0.23/kg) and more than twice (0.18/kg) higher than in a no less dry August 2020. At the same time, in Moldova, the harvesting campaign is already at 75% and there is a lot of medium quality in the country, but the price for it still remains at the maximum level of the five-year period, according to EastFruit experts .

Vegetable market participants claim that the main reason for this situation is:  “the main share of marketable onions does not reach the wholesale market – they are immediately sold in the field.” At the same time, most of the commercially produced onion do not reach storage facilities, that means it is not deposited in a strategic reserve for the winter. So, we can assume that there will be no cheap locally produced onions in Moldova for a very long time – at least until the next season.

A significant share of Moldovan marketable onions is sent literally from the fields to Ukraine, where prices, although they have begun to decline, are still much higher ($0.55/kg). Moldovan network retailers also compete with exporters for local onions. For this reason, an additional payment for premium quality onions in the amount of 1-2 lei/kg to the average price has become the norm.

Theoretically, the supply of Polish onions could correct the situation. In Poland, its peak harvesting has only recently begun; there are relatively many low-quality products from non-irrigated fields. But the average wholesale price (about $0.36/kg) is unlikely to fall – again, because of the profitability of deliveries to the nearby Ukrainian market. Accordingly, a more distant export to Moldova, even in the format of “reverse loading” of transport that supplies Moldovan plums to the Polish market, does not look very attractive. Although, probably, individual deliveries are possible, and they can affect the price situation on the vegetable market in Moldova.

EastFruit

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