The Polish apple growers are in the midst of harvesting their various varieties of apples. The start came with good weather, but in the recent weeks apple pickers had to endure rainy conditions. Due to the general lower production in Europe, on Polish exporter expects a shortage to come up eventually, just like it did last season.
The season for Polish apples is in full swing, with the Golden varieties being harvested at the moment. According to Emilia Lewandowska, sales manager for Fruit Group, they’re still waiting for the right color for other varieties: “We’ve started the apple season with very high prices, which can be contributed to the similar higher prices at the end of last season. In the following weeks the prices have dropped down significantly, but at the moment the market prices are stable. We started with harvesting the gala apples, after which we had to wait for the right color in other varieties, such as Jonaprince and Champion. In fact we’re still in the midst of harvesting right now, so it’s very busy times at the orchards. Last week we started harvesting the Golden apples.”
Although the start of the harvest came with sunny weather, apple pickers currently have to deal with rainy days and have been doing so for weeks. “During the first part of harvesting the weather was really pleasant. There were a lot of sunny days. The last few weeks however, have been rather different. Rain, rain and even more rain. To our surprise some regions even had hail last weekend. Weather is changing rapidly and it’s hard to get the right color in the Jonagored apples. It could become a major challenge for us.” Lewandowska says.
The spring frosts did damage a lot of apples, but Lewandowska states Poland will still have a higher production than the country had last year. “Some of Poland’s production was destroyed in April and May due to the spring frosts. However it was not as bad as it was in 2019, so it’s expected production in Poland will increase by 17 per cent this year when compared to the previous season. In the summer there was also some hail, but this was more of a regional problem. Some varieties, such as Champion will have damages from frost. Gala and Golden varieties are in really good condition.”
Last season ended with a shortage, hardly any Polish apples were available for export and prices increased significantly as a result. Lewandowska fears this situation will repeat itself in the new season: “It could become challenging this season to keep a stable amount of apples for export. To maintain the level of supply that clients need from Polish producers. Even though we have more apples than last year, there are lesser volumes available in Europe in general. Some countries have had problems with sunburned skins on the apples, others were affected by spring frosts even worse than Poland was. We fear this might be an unstable market this season. The question isn’t so much if, but when there will be a lack of apples. It could become apparent in May, just like last season, but it could also become a problem sooner than that. Of course we hope it won’t be a problem at all.”
Lewandowska isn’t afraid of any competition this year, as they simply have to deal with the situation: “Competition is the way of the world of produce exporting. We’ll experience it every year. This means we’ll have to monitor the market closely. It’s hard to say which country will be our main competitor at this moment, or even to point out a single one at all. Every country has its own set of problems.” she concludes.