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June 21 2018, 10:17 Fruit-Inform

Moldova enters group of top ten global exporters of apples in 2017

EastFruit analysts say of the Republic of Moldova to have entered the group of top ten global apple exporters in 2017 for the first time ever. Moldovan apple exports have exceeded a historical limit of 200,000 tons and reached 222,000 tons. Moldova managed to leave Turkey, Belgium and Serbia behind and almost get ahead of the Netherlands. Moreover, excluding re-exports, Moldovan apple export volumes turned out to be higher than Dutch ones.

Market analysts link such a growth in exports with active expansion of areas under apple orchards in Moldova in the past 15 years and development of fruit storage capacity there. Of course, return of the Russian market played its part for Moldovan apple exporters, while imports from other large European producers, such as Poland, Italy, France and Ukraine, were still banned in Russia. Thus, the Russian Federation accounted for about 96% of Moldovan total apple exports in 2017. The EU countries (Romania mainly) accounted for just about 3% of the exports from Moldova.

Despite rapid development of the export volumes, Moldova is still in the group of just top 20 global apple exporters in the value terms, and this fact speaks for rather low prices of Moldovan apples. Market analysts link such a low value of Moldovan apple growers’ efforts with both relatively low quality and inadequate marketing of their fruits, which negatively affect prices.

Moldova and Serbia are considered the countries with the highest risks in the apple business due to dependence on one external market, which foreign trade policy is unpredictable. Both countries ship more than 95% of their apples to the Russian Federation, and Moldova has regularly faced Russia’s bans on imports.

Thus, both Moldova and Serbia have to be actively seeking for alternative export markets, and there is all the more reason for this as there are countries, which are ready to pay much more than Russian consumers. However, sales of apples at higher prices at the markets with stricter requirements to quality always involve additional efforts. Meanwhile, farmers usually prefer to go with the easiest option and take any additional efforts only under crisis conditions.

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