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Erik van Vugt, Fresh World International:

"Our colleagues are driving back and forth to the Ukrainian border to provide assistance"

In 1997, Fresh World International was founded in Poland, as part of the Best Fresh Group. This year, Fresh World International in Poland celebrates its 25th anniversary. However, Erik van Vugt has not experienced a crisis like the one taking place as we speak. "It is very unreal; the border of Ukraine is 200 kilometers from here. Trains are constantly arriving here with wounded, women, children and old people. It's very intense. I don't want to see all the videos that are being sent to me. These are traumatic experiences for an entire generation."

"Half of our workforce is of Ukrainian origin. We try to do what we can. We are raising money ourselves, but our Ukrainian staff is driving back and forth to the border to see if they can meet the needs of their countrymen. They take stock of what is most needed and then we try to purchase that. That's how we try to do our part."

"In Poland, there was always a duality between people with anti-European feelings, who were also against the refugees, and those who were more EU-minded. There is nothing left of that discord now. Poland is now one. This situation has greatly underlined the importance of the European Union in this country," continued the Dutchman in Poland, who also has retail clients in Ukraine. "Don't forget that the Dutch voted against the association agreement with Ukraine in the referendum a few years back. In the Netherlands, people are quick to forget that, but I, as a Dutchman, am regularly reminded of it."

"Business-wise, the market is under pressure as well. The value of the Polish zloty is falling, although not as much as the ruble. Still, a 5% drop makes a big difference to our trade," says Erik. From South America, he has not received many offers yet of goods that were destined for Russia, but he does get more inquiries from Morocco. Fresh World does not sell very many Dutch vegetables. "We do sell peppers, but we mainly on fruit from overseas," he says.

"No doubt, suppliers outside the EU will find other ways to supply Russia anyway, but I expect suppliers to start delivering only when they have the money in their account. Also, the trade has to be able to arrive at all and many shipping companies have canceled their regular routes."

For more information:
Erik van Vugt
Fresh World Int. Sp. z o.o.
ul. Świerkowa 3A, Bronisze
05-850 Ożarów Mazowiecki
Tel.: +48 22 33 76 200
Fax: +48 22 33 76 222  

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