Moldovan traders tighten requirements for the purchase of apples for storage

Operators of the Moldovan fruit market claim that at the end of September this year, large trading companies only rarely agree to buy apples directly from the orchards (immediately after harvesting). Most often, in such cases, we are talking about apples of the earliest of the late varieties: certain clones “Gala”, “Champion”, etc. Obviously, these products are purchased only to ensure current consumption – urgent deliveries in supermarket chains and mini-markets around the house. Moreover, most often apples from the orchard are purchased at the current minimum price – up to 5 lei / kg ($ 0.28 / kg).

Many agricultural enterprises of apple regions of the north of Moldova just started harvesting apples of the main late varieties at the beginning of the second decade of this month – almost two weeks later than last year. It is these products that traders-exporters put in refrigerators for more or less long-term storage. In most cases, trading companies now accept it only from the sorting and packaging divisions of agricultural enterprises. In horticultural farms, which are able to organize only a rough bulkhead of apples from containers by hand, in order to track the quality of products, the largest traders often send their representatives-supervisors.

The tightening of the regime for purchasing apples by exporting traders coincided with another trend not typical for the first month of autumn. Many agricultural enterprises, which usually provide fruit storage services, refuse to book space in their refrigerators to those farmers who did not take care of this task in August. The main reason is that horticultural enterprises hope to put in their refrigerators their own high yield of apples of late red varieties, the quality of which (color) in the specific conditions of August-September will be good.

As a result, some farmers formed an opinion, which they shared with EastFruit analysts, that there is a shortage of refrigeration capacity in Moldova. However, in reality, this does not necessarily happen. According to optimistic estimates, by the way – mentioned in the state program for the development of fruit growing until 2025, at present, the total storage capacity of fruit and berry products in Moldova is about 400-420 thousand tons. Experts of associations of gardeners and winegrowers believe that more or less modern refrigerated warehouses are capable of receiving up to 350-380 thousand tons of fruits per season, including plums and grapes – 40-50 thousand tons each.

This year, as many fruit market operators believe, for a number of reasons, a minimum amount of plums will be stored in refrigerators for short-term storage. Accordingly, the released areas may well be occupied by apples.

Read also: Demand for apples in Eastern Europe is unsatisfactory, but prices are still higher than in the 2018/19 season

The harvest 2021 of the apples themselves is still projected at 600 thousand tons. Apparently, about half of this volume of production will go to concentrate factories before the cold weather. And for 200-240 thousand tons of apples, relatively speaking, the export quality of storage facilities is enough.