In 2014, Viorel Mardare, a famous video director, made a video about Moldovan farmers and wine producers. At that time, they were severely affected by the Embargo imposed by the Russians as a result of the Association Agreement that Moldova signed with the EU.
In 2013, Russia bought 43% ($988 million) of all Moldova’s agricultural exports. After signing the association agreement with the EU, moldovan farmers could no longer export their products there, because the Russian imposed a ban on all agricultural products originating from Moldova. Here you can read more about the Russian embargo and how it affected the country .
Mardare’s video was called “Show must go on”, hinting that the producers had find alternative markets and possibilities. This incentive, along with the association agreement, have worked remarkably well in helping Moldova reorient its exports. According to ex-minister of Economy, Octavian Calmic, in 2016 we reached a percentage of 65% of exports oriented towards EU, while that number was always below 50%. In comparison, the exports toward Russian Federation have decreased from 26% in 2013 to 12% in 2016.
In 2022, due to the war in Ukraine, Moldova experiences the same problems all over again. Due to the sudden closure of Russian, Belarusian and (partially) the Ukrainian market, Moldovan fruit producers have ended up in an unexpected situation in which they have to reorient themselves to over markets extremely quickly, overwise risking to loose their investments. Is Viorel Mardare’s video becoming actual and super relevant again? According to experts, it is.
Wine is currently the third most exported product from Moldova – behind insulated wire and sunflower seeds — and in 2019, the country exported $137 million in wine, ranking it the 20th largest wine exporter in the world. Its most important markets are Belarus, Russia, Europe and China. Cricova one of the most important wine producers from Moldova, was also until recently home to a private wine collection for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Like much of Moldova’s exports, being a land-locked country and without a port itself, most of their wine is sent internationally through the Black Sea port of Odesa in southern Ukraine, which is currently being advanced upon by Russian troops. There are multiple wine containers stuck in Odesa, which were supposed to be en route to Africa, Turkey and China.
In addition, Ukraine was actually the only transit country for the export of products from Moldova to the russian and belarusian markets, but transit through Ukraine is now impossible. Therefore, Moldova has to look for other, more expensive and complex logistics solutions, which led to a virtual halt in its exports, EastFruit analysts state.
Therefore, the war has brought again multiple challenges for Moldovan Economy. Will we repeat the experience after 2014, when the problems motivated us to develop, seek new opportunities and thrive?