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Could exotic mushrooms be a solution to labour shortages?

The warm spring has caused the Polish mushroom market, and production, to slow down around 2 to 3 weeks earlier this season.

"It is normal for us to start producing less in June and July, for both the fresh and industrial markets. In the fresh market, consumers tend to choose other seasonal fruits and vegetables when the weather is warmer. Since mushroom production is year round, industrial companies also put cut and frozen production on hold, so that they can switch to strawberries, cherries and other summer fruits," said Lukasz Kiwala, from mushroom cooperative SPGJ.

Mushroom growers anticipate the decrease in demand at this time of the year and slow down production. However, the warmer weather in the last few months has also caused higher production costs for growers due to cooling costs, and around 5 to 6 of the 24 growers that the cooperative works with, choose to stop production altogether and pick up again in August when demand increases.

Throughout the year, from August-June, the cooperation sends around 100 tons per week, but during June and July, this amount drops by 50%. Around 80% of production is destined for the domestic market, with the remaining being exported to France, Germany and Latvia.

"Like other producers, we have also been hit with labour issues. Things are going much better with the economy here in Poland which means that there are a lot more jobs available, this makes it tricky for us because if someone has the choice between working in a shop or mushroom production, they will take the first option. We have had a few producers who have voiced interest in starting to produce exotics like shiitake or shimeji, since demand is growing and they take a lot less workers to produce."

For more information:
Lukasz Kiwala
Tel: +48 (46) 831 29 12

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