At the end of autumn, many Moldovan exporting fresh producers either refused to sell apples or sold only a small amount of the products that are unlikely to preserve until the second half of winter. As a result, the domestic supply of apples for export is relatively small. As reported by the operators of the local fruit market, the supply “is noticeably lower than in the same period of the two previous seasons.” At the same time, the demand for apples from traders who sell to the Russian market still exceeds supply. This is the factor that explains the growth of apple prices in the Republic of Moldova, continuing throughout November, as Federation of Agricultural Producers (FARM) experts explain.
Read more: To sell or not to sell: the apple dilemma
Last week, the upward movement of apple prices in this country accelerated. EastFruit monitoring reported that wholesale prices for apples on the Moldovan domestic market increased depending on the variety by 7-13% – up to $0.47-0.77/kg. With these prices, Moldova as an apple exporter came close to the general price level in importing countries (in this case, Belarus and Russia).
In general, the current situation brings Moldovan producers and traders, who sell apples at relatively high prices already in autumn, not only joy but also causes some anxiety. However, for some economic reasons, in the first or second quarter of 2021, prices for dessert apples in Russia may decrease, or, for political reasons, Moldovan traders may lose preferential access to the Russian fruit market. In that case, a significant number of economic entities in the Republic of Moldova may face serious problems.
Operators on the Moldovan fruit market admit this risk. Therefore, some of them (the minority) are in a hurry, trying to sell more product this year, while the level of apple prices in the Russian Federation still provides Moldovan exporters with at least minimum profitability. However, many large traders, who put decent quality apples in their refrigerators (decent for this problematic agricultural season), are confident that in February-April, they will sell them at a high price, presumably not cheaper than 15-16 lei/kg ($0.90-0.95/kg)
And what if the Russian market does not provide reasonable price or access? According to some large traders, this won’t be the reason for a full-scale crisis in the industry.
Although there is still no exact data on the harvest and the volume of apples in storage, we can assume that in the marketing season 2020-2021, the export resource of Moldova is not large. However, even under these conditions, apple producers will be able to sell their products if not to Russia, then to Romania. In the latter case, they will have to tolerate lost profits as prices for Moldovan fruits in the neighbouring country are often slightly lower than on the Russian market. However, these conditions will finally force Moldovan traders to seek alternative markets for their apples of the 2021 harvest more actively.
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