The Polish cherry market this season is marked by uncertainty. Until the harvest kicked off and the first purchase price lists appeared, contradictory information was received from both the domestic and European markets, which made it difficult to clearly assess the development of the situation. Currently, the harvest is already underway, making it easier to estimate what will happen, but there is still quite a lot of uncertainty, says Dr. Paweł Kraciński, from the Institute of Agricultural Economics and Food Economy - National Research Institute.
"Observing the behavior of market participants, i.e. processors and fruit growers, it could be said that there will be slightly more fruit and that this will be slightly cheaper compared to the previous year," said Dr. Paweł Kraciński.
Most of the cherries go to processing industry, and prices vary according to their destination. In the cherry business, processing into frozen food plays the most important role. The first batches of cherries for freezing, with delivery to the processing plants, are bought for a maximum of PLN 2.20 / kg (0.50 Euro). The lower range of prices started from PLN 1.70 / kg (0.39 Euro). Prices below PLN 2.00 / kg (0.45 Euro) are the most common at the moment.
If the harvest at the peak of the season is satisfactory, processing plants will certainly try to push prices down. Cherries for processing into juice will traditionally be priced much lower, probably about PLN 1 / kg (0.23 Euro) or less.
The changing weather conditions make it difficult to offer accurate estimates about the Polish cherry harvest. Factors like dry weather, flooding or frosts can quickly reduce the yield potential or affect the quality of the fruit. According to data from the Central Statistical Office, the largest production was recorded in 2018, when it reached about 200 thousand tons. In the current season, the harvest will certainly be lower than that, but should be greater than in 2019, when it amounted to just 152,000 tons. According to the fruit growers, this year's harvest is likely to oscillate between 160 and 170 thousand tons.