From the middle of January, the price of apple exports began to rise in Moldova. Compared to the beginning of this month, the average level of prices for nearly all apple varieties increased by an average of 1 lei/kg up to 8-14 lei/kg ($0.48-0.84/kg).
Idared and Simirenko apple varieties are traditionally located in the lower part of the price range while Granny Smith, Red Chief, and Fuji are in the upper echelon.
At the beginning of the third week of January 2021, there is little difference in the average price level for these fruits compared to the same period last year. By the end of the month, local exporters expect a smooth, not abrupt, rise in price.
Operators of the Moldovan wholesale fruit market note that the intensification of apple trade is mainly due to the increase in exports to Russia.
Moreover, a large number of Moldovan agricultural enterprises-traders began to supply apples to the Russian market in January.
Some of them export rather large volumes in the second half of the month equalling up to a dozen refrigerated trucks per day.
In general, this fits into the traditional scenario for this period of the marketing season. However, exporters doubt this month will reach the levels in the same period as 2020 and 2019 which were 27,000 tons and 35,000 tons respectively.
The reason is the relatively low apple harvest last year (430,000 tons) and small commodity reserves at the moment are estimated at less than 140,000 tons.
Traders claim now there are only low-quality products left in their refrigerators – apples that are small (55 mm or less) in diameter. Yet, this product is also in demand on the Russian market.
Traders think it is due to the resumption of work with educational institutions and kindergartens as well as consumer interest switching from festive citrus fruits to everyday apples.