The Polish apple season has had some struggles the past few months, but the stories of the apples’ quality being worse is not something one Polish exporter can agree with. The local market might have quality issues, but the apples destined for export are up to par, they say.
It will be no surprise to anyone that Polish apple exporters are not shipping the volumes they were last year. According to Emilia Lewandowska, sales manager for Fruit-Group, they still export quite a bit of their produce. “We do some export right now, but it’s less when comparing it to the overproduction we had during the 2018/2019 season. The big change is that we seem to be sending more to the local market these past three months than we did in 2018.”
Different markets have different demands when it comes to apple varieties. Lewandowska says that there are still plenty of varieties available for all costumers. “For the overseas markets we have quite a few varieties that meet the quality requirements. Apples like Golden, Gala Royal, Gala Must, Redchief and Idared. When looking at the European markets we also have Champion, Jonagored, Jonaprince and Gloster available next to the earlier mentioned varieties.”
The start of the season came with higher prices than usual, due to a lack of available summer varieties for the local market. However currently prices are stable, says Lewandowska. “At this moment I feel the market is stable, prices are definitely lower compared to the start of the season. Some of the varieties are available in lower quantities, like Jonaprince. And due to lower volumes, of course the market has high demand for this variety.”
There has been word about quality issues in the Polish apples, but Lewandowska does not recognize this situation in the orchards they work with. “Quality of apples is diversified and depends on the farmer. As far as I know, good farmers have no problems with quality at this moment. Quality begins in orchard. The time of spraying and harvesting have their influence on the apples’ quality. Now most of apples on the local market were stored in cold chambers and were not appropriate for export. This could be the reason why people think the overall quality is having issues. But the apples destined for export are quite solid in terms of quality.”
For 2020, Fruit-Group hopes to diversify beyond apples. “We’d love to sell larger volumes in both apples and soft fruit, while still maintaining our expected quality and safety of the produce we export. We hope to see everyone in the New Year and wish everyone happy holidays!” Lewandowska concludes.