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Swedish organic farmers struggle to sell their apples

In Sweden, the 37 organically certified apple farmers are in the midst of harvesting. This year's crop is good. But few KRAV-certified organic apples will be available in Swedish supermarkets.

Most will have been processed into apple juice. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, there is a lack of sales channels for organic fruit. And large wholesalers prefer imported organic apples to Swedish KRAV apples.

Most KRAV organic apples are grown in Skåne. Ninety percent of Swedish apples are cultivated in that region. However, there are KRAV-certified orchards in 15 of Sweden's 21 provinces. Even as far north as Västerbotten. What they all have in common is that the apples are not sprayed with pesticides. They are also grown without artificial fertilizer.

"Consumers have to understand better what organic fruit means," says Per Odén. He cultivates KRAV-certified apples. He and his wife now sell all these themselves through wholesalers. It's not easy.

But some wholesalers still buy large volumes of Swedish KRAV-certified apples. They also promote organic fruit sales, Per says. "Still, it's important that shoppers request Swedish KRAV-certified apples in stores. That's if we want to keep Swedish organic apples."

Many KRAV-certified apple farmers process a lot of their fruit into juice instead of selling the apples. That means they don't have to be concerned that their apples are pretty enough for buyers to accept.

Even though KRAV-certified apples' main benefits do not have to do with appearance. The growers often sell the juice, and other processed products from their orchards, in their farm stores.

"Cultivating KRAV-certified apples and other fruits is of great value. Not least of all for biodiversity. Organic farms have 50% more plant, bees, and other pollinator species," says Anita Falkenek, KRAV's CEO.

Many KRAV-certified apple growers have registered themselves in KRAV's Apple Growers' Guide. People can find orchards in their area where they can buy organic apples. But this year's good apple harvest means the 37 KRAV-certified growers are hectic. So, they don't seem to have time to invite visitors to their farms on Apple Day. It is on September 25.

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