“Stable relationships are more interesting than the long-term spot market”

With its own fleet of trucks supplying the Eastern and Central European market with fruits from its own cultivation and partner farmers, export company Fani has had a somewhat unique business model in the fruit sector in Moldova for the past five years. “We’re not immediately interested in the Middle East,” says sales manager Stefan Petlan. “We’d rather send our cars to the Baltic states or Austria and Germany. We check it out better.”

Stephen Petlan presents the Stanley peaches

Fani Ltd, which operates from a distribution center barely 5 kilometers from the capital Chisinau, was founded as a logistics company by Stefan’s father shortly after Moldova’s independence. “He has bought fruit from farmers and exported it to Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Romania. I joined the team in 2011 and after a few years we made the leap to export to the European Union, starting with the Baltic countries in 2015. And Austria and Germany in 2017.”

Grapes ready for export

In the first half of the year, mainly grapes and apples from storage are sent to foreign markets. “Our grapes, predominately cored, are sold with passion in Ukraine and Romania. We found almost no competition from other regions of origin in our neighboring countries due to market proximity. In the second half of the year we will focus on peaches and apricots representing 60% of our sales volume, half of the fruit that We sell it comes from our own farming, and the other half we source from partner farmers with whom we have long-term relationships and with whom we also help maintain the high standards required for the overseas market. Such as GlobalGAP and GRASP.”

Fanny has its own trucks

‘Power is nothing without control’
Stefan explains that he will not sign a contract with the customer if he does not have the fruit to be delivered hanging in the orchard or in the cold store. “For example, I have 15 hectares of Stanley plums. I like to get the product I supply from partner farmers, but if something goes wrong with delivery or quality, I can always refer to my own merchandise. Our staff monitors the quality very closely. Own farming, But also from suppliers.“Strength is nothing without control,” I always say: We have a nice network of partner farmers, good relationships with many clients, large cold store, packing lines and even our own fleet of trucks, but if we don’t strictly check the quality of each shipment We do it, we won’t be able to get anywhere.”

Beautiful landscape in Moldova with a vineyard in the foreground (Photo Fani)

Good relationships pay good prices for Moldovan product
Fani mainly focuses on direct sales to supermarket chains. “Although large retailers generally push prices and do not think at all about how farmers will survive, I see no particular problem for a Moldovan farmer if the fruit is obtained much cheaper here. Perhaps that is what is on offer. .The spot market is happening. , but my experience is that if you have a good relationship with a retail customer, they charge the same price whether the fruit comes from Serbia, Germany or Moldova.”

Novatec sorting line for apples and peaches

In one of the main destinations of the Chisinau fruit export company, which is Germany, local retail support for the local farming sector is a hindrance to Fanny export activities as long as German product is available. “And this is not even at the request of the government. It’s just the mentality. In the German season, even our super taste can’t compete with the proximity argument. This is a little different here and that’s what we have twice. Very difficult, Moldovan chains always choose foreign products – for example From Poland – if offered cheaper at a given moment, although our refrigerated warehouses are full of fruit. Fortunately, our peaches usually end up in an empty market abroad.”

Plum is very popular in the German-speaking part of Europe

More than just Stanley
Harvesting of Cacanska Rana and Cacanska Lepotica, the oldest plum varieties, traditionally begin in mid-July. Then the export reaches only modest volumes due to the large supply of special products in the countries of Central Europe. “And it was especially noticeable this year, given the high production throughout Europe, not only of peaches, but also of apricots and morels,” says Stefan, which grows especially well with the slightly late Centenar variety, which is its native Moldova and Romania. “It has the same caliber, color and appearance as Lepotica, but where Lepotica is harvested with a Brix value of 12, Centenar easily reaches 20. It looks like candy. We are mainly active in the Baltic market with this product. We started picking Cacanska Najbolja and Stanley plums. The crop is great. , but a large part was first stored in refrigerated warehouses, because Poland was still in the international market with a cheaper product.The demand for our plums peaks from September 20 to October 20, after that the situation will be calmer again.The last trucks carrying will leave Product from CA Store circa Dec 20th.”

They stand together in front of the refrigeration trailer

Grapes to Riga
Even before Fanny became active in the German-speaking market, the first export experience outside the usual destination markets (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Romania) was gained in the Baltic states. We write in December 2015. “Through a client in Belarus, I received a call from an import company in Riga. I picked up the phone, called the number and explained that I have very nice peaches and grapes. Although I was the local market here it was not bad at that time “The grapes fetched 75 cents a kilo — and though they told me on the other end of the line they couldn’t pay more than 75 cents for a cart, I decided to get into the adventure. Our own fleet, which gave us some margin to afford the transportation ourselves. The grapes arrived, and it was Liked, sorted there … Suddenly there was a demand for 4000 euros. And suddenly I had a headache … But in February 2016 I met importers at Fruit Logistica and in the same year – which by the way was a bad season for the Russian market – I managed to send 40 cars To Riga, which is the same in 2017. That claim of a few thousand euros has long been forgotten at the time!”

Big in apricot

“So far we are exporting to Latvia, although currently the road is a little longer. Instead of crossing Ukraine and Belarus, we now have to go through Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Lithuania. But it is still worth it. Stefan will not easily give up the good relations we have established on Over the years, not only in the Baltic states but also in Germany. The spot market is not ours, and we work for the long term.”

for more information:
Stephen Petlan (sales manager)
Fannie Co., Ltd.
Street. Aliko Rosso 43
4829 Magdacesti (Criuleni) – Moldova
Mob: +373 6969 1990
Mobile: +40722466800 (Romania)

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