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This Polish start-up managed to get a foothold in the Indian market in its first year

“The Indian market requires top-notch quality apples”

One might think it’s a crazy idea to start trading in apples if you’re from Poland. There are so many traders, is there even room for more? Two brothers decided to take a gamble and are working hard to get a strong foothold in the Indian market.

Despite the Polish apple industry having to deal with frosts earlier, one start-up is gearing up to have a good season. The frost did not largely affect the orchards they buy their apples from: “There were a lot of regions in Poland that suffered major damages, even up to 80 or 90 per cent of the total crops. Luckily for us, the orchards we work with are located in the North of Poland, a region that was hardly affected by the frosts at all. Unless anything major happens the upcoming month, we expect 90 per cent of the crops will be harvested just fine.” Pawel Sokolowski, general director of Poland-Fruit explains. “We are very optimistic about our upcoming season, although we still have a month to go before harvest and temperatures are rising. This could damage the skin of the apples, affecting the color and appearance in general. We’ll have to see what kind of impact the heatwave will have.”

It’s been only a year since the company Poland-Fruit was founded, but already the company has established a solid network in the Indian market which resulted in successful exports of 500 tones of top-quality fresh apples. This is the main market to focus on, according to Sokolowski. “Before my brother and I started this company, we both did projects in India. I worked in IT for a while and my brother was a company’s CEO, which worked in heavy industries, so both of us have a good understanding of the culture and market in India. On top of that we already had our network established, so getting started we immediately had a client that we could offload the produce to. We wanted to take advantage of our experiences in India and our knowledge of the region. Thanks to our expertise it’s easier to avoid mistakes and any kind of misunderstanding. Our partner in India, Sheemit Agro Fresh, who understands what we stand for, visited us in Poland a couple of times and we now work closely together to supply the Indian market with the exact quality they want. ”

The varieties of apples that Poland-Fruit exports to India comes down to two top-end varieties. “We have shipped and will continue to ship Royal Gala and Red Delicious apples to the Indian market. These varieties are on the higher end of the price scale, but for the Indian market, quality is everything. A lot of people mistakenly think that India is not as developed. However when it comes to sending fresh fruit to India, compromising on quality could mean destroying your opportunity to work in the region. They want top notch apples and this is why France, Italy or the USA have been doing so well in this market. They’ve done their homework and know what requirements the apples must have. This is what Poland-Fruit hopes to improve. Poland has the image of sending lesser quality apples. And this in fact is not true – Poland has great apples, one simply has to know how to properly select the material and have a team of trusted quality-control and logistics partners to deliver it. We hope to benefit the entire Polish apple industry by making sure we only export top-notch apples to India.”

Even though last year was a bumper crop for Poland as a whole, Sokolowski is ambitious when it comes to the upcoming season’s targets. “We intend to ship at least as many apples as we did last season. Whether or not this will become reality is hard to tell, as anything can happen that shifts the balance into one direction or the other. We hope to export at least a thousand tons to India alone, but we’re also eyeballing some African markets. These are slightly more difficult, but Senegal and Nigeria are definitely optional markets that we’re exploring. In fact we were able to sign initial order contracts there for containers,” Sokolowski explains.

For more information:
Mr. Pawel Sokolowski
Tel: +48 693 933 325

Mr. Amit Gupta
Sheemit Agro Fresh
Tel: +91 982 440 88 86

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