Polish apple growers are still harvesting the produce from the orchards, but it seems they might have to hurry up a little. Where the interest in Polish apples was relatively low a month ago, it has since picked up. According to Emilia Lewandowska, Office Manager of Fruit-Group Sp. there is a significant increase of exports to countries like India and Arabian Peninsula.
A lot has happened in the past month, Emilia Lewandowska of Fruit-Group Sp. explains. Although the situation wasn't great in September, also due to issues with a reliable workforce for the harvesting period, things seem to have picked up lately: “A week or two before the fair in Madrid started, we noticed an increase of interest in the Polish apples, as prices were low. The biggest interest didn’t come from our usual European clients though, regions like India and Arabian Peninsula started calling us for more and more orders. And it all happened just short of Fruit Attraction in Madrid!”
When penetrating new markets like India and Saudi Arabia, there is bound to be new, unknown competition. Although Lewandowska did not receive any crucial information regarding their competition in those countries just yet, there is always the risk of other countries undercutting the Polish prices. “Even when prices are this low, there will always be companies trying to cut the price by another cent or two. However the quality of our apples is still really good and the prices have stabilized over the past month. We’ll have to deal with the competition like we always do; this is the ‘Game of Trading’ as we say.”
The workforce in Poland posed a problem for a while, with the Ukranian seasonal workers not showing up in the numbers they were expected to. According to Lewandowska their growers have had to pull all hands on deck: “Some growers asked help from their family, just to get as many helping hands as they could. Other growers would wait for the apples to fall to the floor to pick them up and cut them with machines. These apples can no longer be sold, but at least they are taken away from the orchard and the market.”
The government also put a plan in place to help growers get rid of their apples. They bought big volumes of apples for a fixed price, to be used for industrial purposes. Fruit-Group did not sign up for this though, Lewandowska explains: “The government solution to buy apples was a good option for the growers without the connections needed to get rid of their apples. We worked on our own solution for this problem and as we predicted; we were able to sell them without a problem. It’s still great the government decided to give the Polish growers some help, should they need it.”
Fruit-Group was also present during Fruit Attraction 2018 in Madrid. Lewandowska claims that although the fair is getting busier, it’s still a great exhibition to attend: “Madrid was great for us, as we got quite a few new good contacts. We did notice some companies decided not to attend, as it is close to Fruit Logistica in Berlin, which is a bigger and busier fair. I feel attending both fairs is great, especially since Fruit Attraction takes place at the start of our apple season. When I look at the past five years in Madrid, you can definitely see the event growing every year!”