Reducing small-format smuggling in Moldova – an unexpected side effect of restrictions due to COVID-19


Reducing small-format smuggling in Moldova – an unexpected side effect of restrictions due to COVID-19

07/21/2020

Currently, only the currant and blueberry segments remain more or less attractive niches of the Moldovan berry market for smuggling.

According to the observations of the employees of Moldovan associations of food producers, the tightening of the regime of the border checkpoints has somewhat reduced the “shuttle activity” of the residents of the border zones. As a result, the flow of foodstuffs nominally imported by individuals “for their own consumption”, but in fact for sale, has decreased on the Moldovan market in recent months. This factor, among others, keeps the prices of some vegetables, fruits and berries at a relatively high level.

Previously, such “small-format smuggling” exerted the greatest pressure on the berry sector. According to expert estimates, in the past few years it has accounted for about a third of the entire capacity of the Moldovan domestic market. This year, due to the temporary suspension of the activity of city markets, which coincided with the beginning of the strawberry sales season, a relatively small amount of contraband berries from Ukraine got to the Moldovan market.

Read also: In Moldova, the strawberry smuggling “spoiled the market”

At present, only the currant and blueberry segments remain more or less attractive niches of the Moldovan berry market for “unobserved exports”. In the first case, the products come to Moldova from Ukraine, in the second – from Romania. However, the flow of goods, compared to previous years, is small – due to limited demand.

This is also why the wholesale price for blueberries in Moldova has been stable for several weeks at the level of 170-180 lei / kg ($ 9.77-10.34 / kg), for blackcurrant – at least 40-50 lei / kg ($ 2 , 29-2.87 / kg).

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