In two months the new apple harvest of Poland will arrive on the market. It’s been a very weird season, with the weather not playing nice and the pandemic disrupting the stability of the sector. Prices increased by 240% over the past four months, as Polish consumers started stocking up reserves at their home.
With the new season already at the horizon, Emilia Lewandowska, sales manager for Polish apple exporter Fruit-Group, is still unsure what the year will look like. For sure is that the situation is different in the apple growing regions of Poland: “We expect to harvest slightly more apples in our Grójec region, compared to the season of 2019/2020. As far as I know other regions in the South of Poland were significantly affected by the spring frosts this year, which will lower the crops compared to last year in these specific regions. Not all regions have been affected by these frosts, so there will be a difference between Polish orchards. This is why it’s currently very hard to forecast what the volumes of the upcoming season will be like! Some orchards only have 20% of their normal volumes, others have about half. There are even orchards who have hardly endured losses and will have a normal harvest this year.”
The weather played a big role in the issues that might ensue this season, Lewandowska says. “We had a very dry winter and spring in this year, followed by too much rain in May and June, resulting in water on the fields. We’ll have a longer vegetation time, and growers are forced to do more investments connected with the protection of their orchard. The Champion variety has frost defects on the skin, and apples will be larger in size.”
After a turbulent season the priority for Fruit-Group is to maintain their stability with their clients, as well as finding new long term partners for the upcoming season: “For us, our current goal is to keep the cooperation with our stable clients going, and sell more apples this autumn 2020 compared to 2019. We’re also looking for long term cooperation with potential clients. It’s a compliment when clients do repeatable orders and keep coming back for our products. With the apples still waiting to be harvested, we’re currently focusing on our soft fruit department, with blueberries and raspberries. It would be great if our sales in these fruits will also increase this season.”
Recently the prices for apples in Poland have skyrocketed. Although the increase started slowly in March, the following months saw an increase of no less than 240%: “Up until March the prices for apples were pretty stable. Month after month the prices started increasing slightly but it was an increase of approximately 1 to 4 %. Then in April and May our orders doubled, as most of the consumers started stocking up some reserves at their homes, which caused prices to rise up. If we take a look at the price difference over these four months, they have increased by 240%. My father has been in this business since 1990 and he can’t remember prices ever being this high. This situation was caused by the frost which we had in April and May of 2019, which resulted in lower crops this year. Of course the higher demand of the consumer during the covid pandemic also played a big part in this all.” Lewandowska explains.
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