Most local lavender growers have brought in their harvest, except of some fields in the north of the country, where rain is causing a delay. Farmers with young plantations harvested up to 30% fewer flowers than in 2019, and those with plants over 10 years old saw their crop down 50% compared to last year’s harvest.
“Usually when we have a drought, fewer flowers are harvested, but the quality of lavender oil is better,” says Alexandru Badarau, president of the Lavender Growers’ Association. “This could be a consolation for the smaller amount. The oil was extracted immediately after harvesting, and the tests come next.”
Some growers have started drying lavender bouquets to expand their product range. Despite the poorer harvest, lavender growers expect to cover their expenses and maybe even make a profit. “It is too early to make estimates, because it depends on prices on international markets,” says Alexandru.
“We don’t know yet if we will be able to sell lavender oil for a higher price, considering the low volume made in our country,” says Vitalie Bordeniuc, director of a company that has been growing lavender for nearly two decades on 200 hectares. “For example, Bulgaria, our direct competitor, has had a good year and can deliver a huge amount of oil. This could mean that prices will remain stable.”
Most of Moldova’s production is exported to Germany. As transport services have not been heavily affected by the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers do not have to worry about their sales market. Still, the pandemic has caused demand to fall off because lavender oil is not a staple.
“Other crops have been affected by drought, low temperatures in May and hail, and this has caused losses to farmers,” notes Alexandru. “Even though it’s been affected by the weather, lavender will benefit growers. We don’t yet have all the figures to be able to make totals.”
The Association is making efforts to implement international quality standards in Moldova’s fields, which will serve as insurance for growers. “This means that, every year, we will deliver set amounts at set prices,” says the president of the Lavender Growers’ Association. “Even if profit margins aren’t huge, stability will be ensured.”
The Association is receiving assistance from the “AroMed Business Revives on the Banks of the Dniester” project, whose purpose is to support the development of the aromatic and medicinal plants industry in Moldova, by obtaining membership in the European Federation of Essential Oils.
This project is being carried out with the support of the EU4Business initiative, through the “Confidence-Building Measures” Programme being implemented by UNDP.