Nuts

Walnuts: severe setback for Moldova

February 8, 2023 at 4:36 PM, Der AUDITOR
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SACRAMENTO/CHIȘINĂU. For the first time, Moldovan market players have to deal with carry-over stocks; until now they were able to sell their entire production to the EU. This has changed this season due to the ongoing economic crises.

The budget is shrinking

As the EU market for nuts is currently going through a difficult time due to various crises, exports from Moldova have also dropped noticeably. This is what the chairman of the Union of Associations of Nut Producers of Moldova, Oleg Tyrsyne, told Sputnik Moldova last week. Due to rising inflation, the Ukraine war, the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic and the energy crisis, the average buyer's budget has shrunk, Tyrsyne said. Spending beyond basic food items is being curtailed. As Rossa Primavera reports, Moldova was recently able to ship its entire crop to the EU, mainly due to good quality and geographical proximity. Suppliers from Chile, the USA or China were often left behind. This season, however, the situation is different, and Moldova is also facing higher carry-over stocks for the first time.

Weak demand and low prices

In addition, Moldovan growers are struggling with low prices. These have fallen by 7% in the last two weeks to an average of USD 1.48/kg, according to East Fruit. They also expect the price declines to continue throughout February, as there are no conditions for stabilisation, let alone growth. Weak demand from EU consumer countries, especially Germany and France, continues to push prices down. This means that many farmers are stuck with large quantities of their goods; on the one hand, there are hardly any buyers, and on the other hand, they are not willing to sell at a loss.

Big losses in California

Growers in California are not happy with the current situation either. As the Sun Gazette writes, prices have now fallen well below production costs, leading many farms in the San Joaquin Valley to switch to alternative crops. Farmers who continue to grow walnuts are removing older trees and less sought-after varieties from their plantations. Robert Verloop, president and CEO of the California Walnut Board and the Walnut Commission, explained that extremely high temperatures during the sensitive growing phase last season caused 30-40% of the crop to be unusable. The prices that growers are getting are said to be at a 30-year low, while the cost of cultivation keeps rising - so the outlook here is anything but encouraging.

Walnuts

Type, origin

EUR/kg

White quarters/pieces, Moldova

4,75

Chandler halves, 80%, USA

6,40

Chandler halves, 40% USA

5,40

Inshell, 185 Tulare, China

1,80

Inshell, Chandler, 30/34, Chile

2,50

Extra light halves, 60%, Chile

6,80

FCA Spain

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