Moldova uses up quota on plum exports to EU

This season too, Moldova has used up its 15,000 tonnes quota on plums that can be exported tax-free to the European Union under the AA/DCFTA arrangements. To date, Moldova has exported over 36,000 tonnes of plums to EU countries, including Romania, Poland, Germany, Croatia, Austria and the Netherlands, announced Moldova Fruct Association.

“This year hasn’t been the best for plum growers. The output has been poor due to heavy rains”, Ion Dobuleac, a plum producer from Grimăncăuți, Briceni district, tells IPN. Dobuleac’s plums reach both the EU and Russia.

Starting this year,
plum growers are required to provide exporters with quality certificates issued by a Chisinau laboratory, which are to show the amounts of chemicals used, among other things. Previously, says Dobuleac, a sales contract and an invoice were enough.

Of the varieties grown in Moldova, foreign buyers
have a preference for the Stanley Prune, which are consumed fresh. Another variety in demand abroad is President, which was introduced in Moldova back in the Soviet years, says Dobuleac.

However, Dobuleac isn’t quite optimistic about the future of his business as competition is fierce in this sector. Moreover, plum growers struggle to find workers, especially during the harvest season, and this is getting increasingly harder with each year.

Lilian Țapu, mayor of Colicăuți, Briceni district, tells IPN that many plum growers in his village have cut down their orchards in the last 2-3 years due to lower-than-expected crops. As to the plums harvested this year and waiting to be exported, “per the practice of the first years from the signing of the Association Agreement, the Moldovan Government can request the export quota to be increased”, says Țapu .

According to the Moldova Fruit Association, plums are the second or third most exported Moldovan fruits, depending on year, after apples and table grapes. Until a few years ago, some 80% of plum exports were destined for Russia. In 2019, as a result of market diversification efforts, Moldova managed to get half of its plum exports to Europe. By 2020, more than half have reached the EU markets.

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