“Ukraine can already compete with the Polish production of raspberries. Ukrainians have been coming to work for us for years, they have seen how we grow raspberries. What is happening in Ukraine now is exactly what happened in Poland in the mid-1970s, when commercial production of raspberries started in Poland,” says Dr. Paweł Krawiec, from the research and consultancy company Horti Team, in an interview with sadyogrody.pl.
Dr Krawiec explains that in the 1970s a governmental project which started commercial production of raspberries in Poland was carried out. A pilot project was created for the Lublin region in cooperation with the Voivodship Center of Agricultural Progress in Końskowola and the Department of Pomology of the Agricultural University of Lublin. The results of the study were implemented into practice as part of this project. Thanks to this, the Lublin region had become a raspberry production centre. Areas which weren’t very well-off economically were selected for the project - there were no access roads, farm income came from typical agricultural production, additionally they were all small farms - that's why something that would increase these revenues was needed. They opted for raspberries and the project was successful.
“The Ukrainians did exactly the same as us. They copied what we did in the mid-1970s. The effect is that now, they are in the same difficult situation as we are in. They made all the mistakes that we made and have the same problems,” Krawiec adds.
“Ukraine will be our competitor for a simple reason. They still have lower labor costs. In addition, they benefit from the same things we benefited from - a new crop on the market, little pressure from pests for this crop, and a simple protection system that we had in the 1970s.”
“Though I think that Ukraine has got over the large-scale planting of raspberries after the last season, which was just as difficult for them as it was for us. The basic question now is: will they face their problems and find a solution faster than us or not? This is the core of our competition with Ukraine. We will have to stand firmly on our feet and promote our raspberry or they will overtake us and promote what they have. This is our main raspberry challenge,” Krawiec explains.
He stresses that one should not forget about the competition that is also arising in the Balkans.
“The producers there did not make the same mistakes as we did. They put greater emphasis on the quality and the promotion of their raspberries. Kosovars promote their raspberries everywhere in the world as a super-quality product. Serbs have similar tactics, though they in turn have very low labor costs. I am afraid that it is even three times lower than in Poland,” he says.
“Our competitors on the raspberry market will be steadily developing their production. The point is that we should take the advantage of what we have, and get to work. And whether this happens, it depends only on us, the raspberry growers,” Dr. Krawiec concludes.