It’s been a very tough season for Polish apple exporters, especially when put in contrast with the previous season, says Jakub Krawczyk, export manager for Appolonia: “Our apple season is still ongoing. The season wasn’t easy, and in some periods of time there were some difficulties with our apples sales. Until December, sales were doing quite well. However, between January and April sales stood at a very low level and we had some worries about whether we were going to be able to sell all our apples.
"Luckily we had some relief in May, when Belarus opened their market for our apples again and the Polish government started a program for financially supporting growers when they sell their apples for industry purposes. The price immediately went up by 0,07 to 0,08 euro for all apples, which was a very good option for the growers. It was the program we were all waiting for.”
The season was made difficult by both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, Krawczyk explains. “It’s no surprise the pandemic came with unique challenges, however our Government announced that the pandemic was over a couple of weeks ago. This means all stores, schools and services are operating as normal once again. That said, we still have the Ukrainian war crisis and it will have an effect on us for a very long time to come, and we still don’t know how the situation will end. As a result, we have a very big inflation and the costs of everything are increasing. Higher costs will stop some growers investing in their orchards and can also have negative effects on the quality of produce.”
“In December we started sorting on our new packing line, so it was also very important for us to open another packhouse and have the ability to sell more apples. Luckily, we ended up building the facility after another big rise of the price,” Krawczyk states.
Appolonia did not have any issues with containers though, as they did not ship to Egypt: “We heard about some problems regarding Polish apples containers that are stuck in Egyptian ports, but to be honest we don’t have any containers in such a situation because we didn’t send any apples to Egypt in 2022. We just hope that exporters who are suffering with that problem will be allowed to enter to the port with their goods.”
Due to inflation, consumers spend less money on apples, Krawczyk says: “Generally, the consumption of apples did fall a bit and our statistics show we didn’t sell as many apples as last season. From January until the end of April, sales were significantly lower. People in the EU more often choose other products and it’s simply because they have less money in their pockets to spend. For our company, the previous season was very good in terms of sales, this one was very challenging and difficult.”
“For the upcoming season, we would like to start cooperating on a big scale with our customers in Egypt again, although the Letter of Credit has stopped sales for some time, we are sure we can move on again. With our new sorting lines it will be easier and faster to prepare more orders in 18 kg bushel for our partners in India, so we also look forward to send more volumes in the coming new season. It will be also very important for us to keep the good quality of the apples on the same level it was this year. There are still some markets that we want to reach directly and we will put in a lot of effort to achieve that.” Krawczyk concludes.