EBRD, FAO promote fruit exports and retail trade in Moldova

By Olga Rosca
@olgarosca


International conference on fresh produce retailing and exports

Greater efficiency in Moldova’s fruit and vegetable production and trade is the goal of a joint effort by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the Moldovan National Federation of Agricultural Producers (AGROinform).

More than 120 fruit producers, traders, retailers and market experts from all regions of Moldova, as well as representatives of supermarket chains and fruit importers from Belarus, Romania, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine, are gathering here today for the First International Conference on Fresh Produce Retailing and Exports in Moldova.

The event aims to promote positive linkages in the value chain within the sector and share the best marketing, technological and post-harvest handling practices, with a view to supporting the development of modern local retail systems and new export opportunites.

“The diversification of Moldova’s fruit exports is very low, as more than 90 per cent of the fruit exported ends up on the market of the Eurasian Customs Union”,” said FAO economist Andriy Yarmak. “We are trying to help local producers develop new markets both within Moldova and outside the country. This requires modernisation along the whole value chain.”

A trade forum is expected to be the highlight of the conference. Linking suppliers and buyers for networking sessions on a dedicated schedule, the forum aims to help Moldovan producers of fresh fruit and vegetables to negotiate supply contracts directly with top buyers from abroad and with all the major local supermarket chains.

Prior to the conference, FAO and the EBRD conducted studies of the value chain for key fruit and vegetable products. Based on the findings, they have arranged three targeted seminars for around 150 local producers on how to improve the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables to quality standards that are acceptable for specific export markets and supermarket chains.

“Access to high-value local and export markets remains a major challenge for fruit producers in Moldova,” said Victoria Zinchuk, Acting Director for Agribusiness at the EBRD. “We can help producers address this challenge through targeted business advice as well as financing required for future investments.”

Along with volume, farmers need to increase value through improved technologies, the selection of better varieties, improved post-harvest handling, packaging, and logistics, as well as marketing and promotion.

The EBRD and FAO will continue working with local suppliers and buyers in Moldova and the region to support more inclusive and sustainable value chains in the agribusiness sector.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Moldova. Since the start of its operations in the country, the Bank has invested over €1 billion through 110 projects in Moldova’s financial, corporate, infrastructure and energy sectors, with more than half of those investments being in the private sector.

FAO assists its member countries to access international markets, meet international quality and safety standards, and improve processes along the agrifood value chain. In Moldova, FAO assists the government in creating and implementing a favourable institutional, legal and regulatory environment for the development of more inclusive and efficient agrifood systems.