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Haskap producers need to work together for promotion

Despite not yet being allowed to sell Haskap berries in the EU, producers are not staying still and continue to be on the lookout for new markets and different ways to offer their berries to consumer.

One such company, Haskap Polska, has been actively at work this year, building relations with partners in Japan, Canada and Germany.

"The first Haskap plants were only brought to Poland for the first time 5 years ago, originally as a decorative bush, so we are only in the very early stages. It's a huge market and most have not completely figured out yet how to use and sell the fruits. We really need to work together to have real promotion for this healthy fruit which is virtually unknown. It is impossible for each company to promote the berries throughout the world," explains Marcin Ślusarski.

Within Europe, Marcin estimates that there are around 2,000 hectares of Haskap in Poland, around 1000 hectares in Japan, along with production in Slovenia, Slovakia and Russia.

"We are still learning about the plant and how to deal with different weather conditions. I think that it is a very exciting process to see how the plants progress. Just like other growers throughout Poland, we had a difficult time this season with the weather. There was too much wind during the pollination period and not enough bees, which caused the flowers to drop instead of turning into berries or produced small berries which could not be used," Marcin explained.

Despite this, there have been a lot of developments in the last year for Haskap berry producers. Last February an association was started in order to support growers for production, promotion and distribution. The first meeting is planned for this fall and Marcin is very positive about the future. He believes that once growers start working together, it will help them to become stronger in the global market, especially for distribution.

"There are so many different possibilities when it comes to the Haskap. We just signed a deal with a Canadian partner to send frozen berries. However, the dried fruits have real potential, along with products like juices, jams and there has even been some talk of a Haskap beer!," said Marcin.

"We are also interested increasing production of our organic berries. We have around 50 hectares at the moment, but at one point we would like to switch completely to organic. Demand continues to grow for organics, consumers need and want to know what they are eating! I am convinced that organics are the future," concludes Marcin.

For more information:
Marcin Ślusarski
Haskap Polska
Tel: +48 693 648 554

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