After a very rocky start, the Polish apple season seems to have calmed down somewhat. The produce is harvested for the most part and it seems as if all the apples will actually find a new owner. With demand growing, has the season been saved?
A couple of months ago, Mohamed Marawan, Managing Director for Sarafruit, expected the export of Polish apples to double. His prediction came true, he claims: “I stated back then the volumes of export would double, but it has actually tripled! We saw an increase in demand from multiple European countries, and what we noticed most of all was the volume of their orders; they wouldn’t order a single or two containers, but sometimes even order five containers at once. The orders are coming in from Italy, Spain, Egypt, Libya and many others.”
The sudden high demand has led to some varieties not being available currently, Marawan says. “With the price being very good at the moment and orders coming in with big quantities, we see that some of the more popular varieties are currently ‘missing’ – Gala and Golden or Gala Must are even being hoarded by certain growers. They save them in cold chambers, waiting for the price to go up before they sell them. But eventually, like I predicted, every last apple is going to be sold.”
With growers saving their produce, waiting for the price to rise, Marawan feels the Polish apple season is about to truly begin: “I expect that in a month, all Polish growers will open their cold chambers at the same time and the true apple rush will start. We’re seeing a huge demand from India, I expect them to wait for this moment,” Marawan says. When asked about what should change in Poland to have a better season next year, he claims it’s the way of thinking that needs to change: “Currently our government doesn’t do anything to help growers, really. These growers no longer trust the big groups of producers. Growers need people they can trust and want to sell their apples independently. For this they need education or at least information on how to approach the business.”
Another point of interest would be increasing the quality of the apples somehow: “I feel growers need to let go of the old varieties and stick to the new Golden or Gala varieties. If we can maintain a good level of quality, the Polish apple sector will be fine for years to come. Another development is the growing organic sector. Sarafruit has produced about a thousand tons of organic apples this season. I expect this number to increase every year. More and more growers are getting their certification for organic cultivation and the organic apples are also used more for juices. We know the organic apples and juices are in high demand all over Germany and Holland.”