Poland is heading into a strict lockdown by the end of the month, if the amount of covid-cases does not go down before then. Naturally this will have an effect on the apple season, as warehouses are seeing employees not able to come to work and schools are already closed. In some orchards the virus is spreading as well.
The Prime Minister of Poland announced yesterday that the country would be going into a strong lockdown on the 29th of November, unless the daily covid-cases decrease significantly before then. According to Mohamed Marawan, owner of Polish apple exporter Sarafruit, it will be a time of sitting at home once again. “Poland currently has more than 25,000 cases per day, this is simply too much for a country like Poland. About 350 to 380 people die of this terrible virus every day. And I’m now starting to hear about people getting sick, who I know personally, including a couple of apple farmers. And the new lockdown will definitely have an effect on our season.”
Marawan states that the number of cases going up can now be seen in his daily life as well, with people working in the apple industry getting sick: “In the warehouses it’s also noticeable that more people are getting sick. Either they get sick themselves, or they have to stay home as their children can no longer go to school or kindergarten. And if they go to work, who is going to stay with the kids? This simply leads to less workforce being available, and not just for my company, but all over the country. Naturally we do what we can at our warehouse and check the workers’ temperature every morning. So far we haven’t experienced any infections for our employees, but this can change at any point, there’s no telling what the situation will be in two or three weeks.”
As if the season wasn’t challenging enough with the restrictions in mind, the apple season itself proving to be a slow one, Marawan explains. “The business in apples is very slow at the moment, but this not just because of Covid, I assure you. The quality for the apples is not there and this is why it’s difficult to supply any new clients with solid volumes. As a lot of apples fell from the trees, the ones that survived have mostly grown into larger sizes. This is true for most, if not all varieties. These large sizes are not suited for export, so the availability isn’t great at all. On top of that we have the traders that are stocking their cold rooms.”
“However, like I have said in the past, these traders will be surprised when they open their cold rooms, as the quality wasn’t good enough for large storage. Prices are very attractive for selling right now, but these traders think they can get an even better deal if they wait for a couple of months.” Marawan concludes.