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Poland: 20% drop in frozen strawberry exports"Poland is one of the leading global producers and exporters of frozen strawberries and the largest supplier to the EU market. According to Eurostat figures, in the last five seasons, frozen strawberries from Poland have covered about 20-30% of the EU's import needs," affirms Anna Kitala, agricultural market expert at BGŻ BNP Paribas.
She added that, according to preliminary data from Eurostat, the export of frozen strawberries from Poland amounted to 97 thousand tonnes in the 2016/17 season, which is over 20% less than in the previous season, i.e. a drop of about 26 thousand tonnes. Despite the increase in unit prices, the decline in export volume was so severe that the total export value fell by 10% to 125.9 million Euro.
"The reduction of exports was a result of the lower production of frozen strawberries and their high prices. It is worth recalling that, according to the Central Statistics Office, the production of strawberries in 2016 amounted to 197 thousand tonnes and was 4% lower than a year earlier. Processors had less raw material and prices consequently increased. According to IERiGŻ data, the average purchase price of frozen strawberries was 3.30 zloty/kg (about 0.77 Euro) and was over 20% higher than in the previous annual report. This caused the export prices of frozen strawberries from Poland to be significantly higher, so buyers bought only the necessary amount of fruit," explains the expert.
According to her, the reduction of Polish exports has resulted in EU consumers having bought more frozen strawberries from Spain (about 61 thousand tonnes, i.e. nearly 20 thousand tonnes more than in the previous season). The interest in Egyptian fruit has also increased (the EU imported more than 28,000 tonnes, or 12,000 tonnes more than in the previous season).
"The low stock of frozen strawberries in Poland at the end of the 2016/17 season and the uncertainty about the extent of the losses caused by spring frosts, not only in the growing of strawberries but also in other fruits, have also been important factors behind the price increases in the current 2017/18 season. Ultimately, it turned out that the production of domestic strawberries amounted to about 177 thousand tonnes and was 10% lower than last year. Meanwhile, the purchase price of raw materials has increased significantly. According to IERiGŻ, processing plants have been paying an average of over 5.10 złoty/kg (about 1.20 Euro) for strawberries for freezing, which is 45% more than in 2016. This has also resulted in an increase in export prices. According to IEG Vu, in early October, the export prices of frozen strawberries from Poland amounted to around 2 Euro/kg (Class II, IQF, uncalibrated) and were 1/3 higher than last year," stated Anna Kitala.
Publication date: 10/13/2017
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