Poland: Blueberry Conference 2018
'Still large opportunities to increase blueberry sales'
The sixth annual Blueberry Conference 2018, which took place at the Mazurkas Hotel in Ozarow Mazowiecki (just outside Warsaw), has been hailed as a success by organisers. The rising popularity for the event, mirrors demand for blueberries themselves, with new plantations popping up where they haven't been seen before, across Europe and beyond.
"It's difficult nowadays to find a country in Europe where they are not growing blueberries. New plantations continue to be planted in Poland, but they are also being developed in countries such as Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Serbia. We see this growth reflected in the visitors attending this event, with around 180 foreign guests from 22 countries attending, including Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and many others," said Mariusz Padewski from Delphy, during his presentation.
The last panel discussion of the day ended with a debate between Fred Douven from abbGrowers, Stephen Taylor from Winterwood Farms Ltd., Dominik Woźniak from the Rajpol group and Mariusz Padewski from Delphy and was moderated by Dominika Kozarzewska from the Polish Berry Cooperative.
Issues related to the development and future of the blueberry market in Europe and in Poland were discussed. The threats resulting from the competitiveness of Southern blueberry varieties (unsuitable for cultivation in our climate) and the development of plantations in new regions of Europe and the world were underlined. However, there are still large opportunities to increase the sales of blueberries, also on the Polish market.
"We have been trading blueberries for 15 years and many things have changed. Supermarket chains such as Lidl and Biedronka introduced blueberries into their offering back in 2010-11, and have been increasing their orders from year to year. As long as we are providing consumers tasty fruit, they will keep on buying more, especially because of its health benefits," commented Dominik Woźniak.
"Another challenge is to be able to meet the increasingly higher quality standards required by large retail chains. This is why it is crucial that we invest in modern packing and sorting rooms," emphasized Stephen Taylor.
Despite the low temperatures, the second day of the event consisted of field demonstrations, attended by more than 400 blueberry growers. There was a visit to Marek Bobrowski's plantation in Grażyna, where Paweł Korfanty demonstrated how to prune several-year-old blueberry bushes and keep them in full productivity for many years.
He also demonstrated how to prepare plantations for mechanical harvesting, which may be imposed by a shortage of employees in the near future. Leon Schrijnwerkers from the Netherlands taught visitors how to cut and form young bushes, using the Chandler cultivar for an example. Such a 3-4 year old shrub should be pruned in no longer than 30-40 seconds. Participants had the opportunity to see for themselves if this was really possible.
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Publication date: 3/7/2018
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