The pandemic has greatly affected global economies as well as trade relations between states. However, even during the sanitary crisis, Moldova has managed to achieve some progress in exporting some categories of agri-food products to EU countries. Thus, in 2020 the volume of exports of fruits, vegetable oils, wine, as well as canned fruits, vegetables or nuts increased.

Vegetable oil exports increased from 63 million EUR in 2019 to 85 million EUR in 2020, with an increase of 34.9%.

At the same time, last year, compared to 2019, exports of wine, vermouth, cider and vinegar increased by 16.3%, while exports of fruit by 15.4%. Exports of fruit juices also slightly increased by 2.3%.

While exports of vegetables decreased by 66.7%, Moldovan canned products sales of vegetable, fruit and nut on the European market increased by 54.5% – to 17 million EUR.

Exports to the European Union take place on preferential conditions due to the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, which is part of the European Association Agreement and involves the gradual liberalisation of the trade of goods and services.

The EU is the first trading partner and the first investor in the Republic of Moldova. According to the National Bureau of Statistics data, in the first five months of 2021, exports of goods to EU countries increased by 16.5% compared to the corresponding period of 2020, accounting for 65.2% of the total volume of exports.

Facilitated access to a market of over 500 million consumers in the European Union has motivated many Moldovan producers to turn west.

This is also the case of the Cibotaru family, who after many years of trading fresh fruit, has decided to sell dried fruit, which is in increasing demand among consumers. Following the healthy food trend, the Nisvinex Grup company has created its own brand and is now producing apple and prune crisps for export to EU countries.

In 2020, the company received a loan of over 1 million EUR under the Livada Moldovei credit line, a programme supported by the European Union through the European Investment Bank. The financing was needed in order to develop the infrastructure, by building and equipping a 1,200-tonne capacity fruit storage and processing hall. The company’s contribution amounted to over 1 million EUR, consisting of investments in agricultural machinery, horticultural processing equipment and investments in cold storage.

“Once the investments have just been implemented, we are still in the process of estimating the evolution of the turnover, we will be able to talk about a final result in two or three years. For the time being, we can say that following the investment made in the construction of the first cold storage facility, the turnover has increased two or three times,”

said Luminița Cibotaru.

This is the company’s third cold storage facility and it allows fruits to be stored for up to half a year.

“We stored the grapes and most of it were exported to Romania. For us, this is an extraordinary market. When they hear that the product is from Moldova, they know it’s tasty and of good quality. We are very happy with the possibilities this market offers us,”

mentioned Luminița Cibotaru.

Due to the investment in the warehouse, new jobs have been created. 30 people from nearby villages work in two shifts. Here the fruit is washed, peeled, cut and dried. The company has created its own brand and now sells red and green apple crisps, dried plums and chocolate apple rings.

In 2020, Nisvinex Grup harvested 750 tons of apples, 600 tons of plums and 800 tons of grapes. Almost 30% of the fruit was exported.

Through the European Investment Bank, the European Union provides support to Moldovan farmers to develop their rural businesses and increase their competitiveness.

More information about the Livada Moldovei credit line and its opportunities can be found here,