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Strawberries could see up to 40% losses

Vegetables less affected by labour shortage in Poland

New legislation, along with more and more Ukrainian seasonal workers going to more profitable countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, has some Polish summer fruit growers, strawberry growers in particular, concerned about how they are going to harvest all of their fruits before it is too late.

According to recent comments made by Andrzej Gajowniczek, Chairman of the Union of processors of fruits and vegetables, 'I think that up to 30-40% of strawberries this season will end up rotting in the fields after the lack of workers from the Eastern boarders.

For producer Andrzej Mierzejewski, from Cool Fruit, he said that he has suspended all strawberry exports for this season and has decided to focus on the domestic market instead.

"The labour issue delayed our strawberry harvest here, which means that it will be too difficult to have the type of quality that can withstand the journey to export countries. We need to pay the workers more money than usual now with the new legislation, but even if you are willing to pay the higher prices, it is still almost to find anyone. We offer them accommodation, insurance, but they are moving to wherever the most money is. I have heard that some of my colleagues have started looking to Asia for new workers," said Mierzejewski.

Soft fruit workers in particular are difficult to find because more workers are needed and it is for a shorter period of time.

"For us, we are looking forward to our aubergine and capsicum season which is starting next week. The temperatures have been around 25°+ celcius, and last weekend, the temperatures were between 29°-30° celcius, which is perfect for vegetables. We also have had some rains which are beneficial too," shared Mierzejewski.

Cool Fruit is also to start its second season producing mini zucchini and zucchini flowers and are looking forward to the potential this new offering has to offer, 'We started offering small quantities of the mini zucchini and flowers to the domestic market last year and we received good feedback, which is why we have increased production this year. It's a really sensitive product so we haven't started exporting them to other markets as of yet, but we are always open to sending some test samples for export if we receive requests."

For more information:
Andrzej Mierzejewski
Cool Fruit
Tel: +48 795522476

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