Forecast: The Volume of Apple Processing in Moldova will be the Lowest in Five Years
Representatives of the Association of Canned Food Producers “Speranța Con” believe that in the 2020-2021 season Moldovan producers of concentrate, juice, and dried fruits will process no more than 100 thousand tons of apples. This is almost three times less than last season (about 290 thousand tons). Besides, it is the lowest level of processing of this raw material in the current five years. Previously, the smallest amount of technical apples (115 thousand tons) in the country was processed in the 2015-2016 season.
Operators explain the sharp decline in the number of technical apples on the Moldovan market by a noticeable drop in yield. Thus, if in 2019 the country harvested 610 thousand tons of apples, then in 2020 the gross harvest of these fruits, according to recent forecasts, will be below 500 thousand tons. From mid-October, the bulk of the products are sorted and stored. Taking into account the availability of unoccupied warehouse premises, even a small “social” apple is pledged for more or less long-term storage in the hope of exporting it to the Russian and Romanian markets in winter.
However, due to rainfall, harvesting of late varieties of apples has slowed down, and it may last two to three weeks more. Besides, if frosts will add to rainfall in late October – early November, the quality of apples in orchards will noticeably deteriorate, which will shorten their reasonable shelf life. Given these options, processors assume the likelihood that a significant amount of apples for processing will be sold in late autumn from warehouses, and in late winter and spring from refrigerators.
Another important factor has a tangible impact on the situation on the Moldovan technical apple market in the first half of the 2020-2021 season. This fall, after a break of one or two seasons, three relatively small canning factories in the north and south of Moldova resumed acceptance of apples for processing. Taking into account the fact that raw material procurers in the current season are eagerly considering offers to sell even small batches of raw materials, these small processors create competition for four large Moldovan concentrate producers. As a result, if last season the average price for a technical apple was slightly below 2 lei/kg ($ 0.12 / kg), then this year the prices for this raw material fluctuate within a wide range of 2.2-3.2 lei/kg ( $ 0.13-0.19 / kg).