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Growers and exporters excited about re-opening of Belarusian market

Poland will resume apple exports to Belarus in April

India has been a solid market for Polish apples, says Jakub Krawczyk, export manager for Polish apple exporter Appolonia: “Generally the apple sales are going quite smooth, we receive orders from customers all the time, and many clients have been very satisfied with the quality this year, which makes us happy. We have just finished shipping our last containers to Asia. A lot of our apples were shipped to India this season and as there were many new customers this year, we hope to be able to supply them again next season. The fact that the Royal Gala crop was of perfect quality did help us a lot with the sales.”

Krawczyk states that it’s been difficult to find good connections to the Asian markets, and has had to transport the apples from an Italian port. “There were some problems with the containers’ transit time. Large shipping lines are just doing what they want and sometimes delays added up to three or four weeks, which meant some of our apples were on the sea for 60 days! Thankfully everything ended up okay. The biggest issue in my opinion, is the poor direct connection to important ports from Poland. With some customers we are choosing different routes, and move our apples to Italian ports, just to send the apples to the destination ports faster. I’d prefer to ship from Polish ports, but if we don’t have good connections, we don’t have a choice and we need to choose other ports. If Poland would have direct and very fast connections to key ports, we could send much more containers.”

Quality becomes more of a factor as the apple season heads into the final stretch, Krawczyk explains. “Because we’re at the second half of the season, it is very important to only choose good quality apples. Not all varieties will be as good as they should till the end of the season, so we need to be careful what we buy and sell. Our stocks are full with Red Jonaprince but we are quite optimistic for that variety and we think we will manage to sell it all until the end of the season. Especially now that Gala is ending, customers are more likely to choose Red Jonaprince.”

The Polish apple traders will soon be able to export to Belarus again, which has been a very important market for them, says Krawczyk: “Right now most of our apples go to Europe. Of course, I’m speaking on behalf of Appolonia only, we know that many companies are still exporting to Egypt, Kazachstan and the Middle East. From February, there was very big demand for Gala and Golden. Because there was solid demand, the price of apples went up and we think it will increase again. From April, it will be also possible to export apples to Belarus, which we all were waiting for. It has always been a very good market for our products. We expect to send many apples to Belarus and many people are very excited about it.”

As growers are trying to cut costs, it’s not likely anyone will invest big money into cultivating club varieties, Krawczyk explains. “Club varieties are starting to be more popular in Poland and many big companies are investing in that sector. It takes some time to make a good club variety and it takes even more money to promote it in a proper way. Of course, it would be very good to a have a club variety in the offer, but it’s hard to say if it will be profitable, especially now when people are looking more for cheaper products, rather than a fancy club one. We are hearing from growers that, due to hard times, they are cutting costs when they can, just to produce normal popular varieties, so investing in new orchards with large amounts of money is not a big trend right now.”

For more information:
Jakub Krawczyk
Tel: +48 785 342 930

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