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Poland wants stronger ties with Spanish horticultural sector

For the second consecutive year, Poland had its own stand at Fruit Attraction with a delegation of 21 horticultural companies (7 ​​last year); a testament to the fact that Poland wants stronger ties with the Spanish market. The Ambassador for the Republic of Poland, Tomasz Arabski, inaugurated the Polish stand accompanied by Witold Boguta, president of the National Association of Groups of Fruit and Vegetable Producers.

According to Witold Boguta, Spain was the destination for over 11,000 tonnes of apples last year and is ranked as one of the leading European importers of this fruit, which is Poland's most important fresh product.

Considered the "country's economic symbol", Polish apples reached record harvest volumes, with over 3.5 million tonnes produced in 2013; of this, 1.2 million tonnes were exported, which shows the strength of the Polish apple sector in the international markets. Russia and the Eastern European countries were the main markets, receiving 60% of the shipments.

Isabel García Tejerina, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, visited Poland's stand during its opening

In recent years, apple producing companies (about 130 of them) have been changing their structure and developing new varieties, many of them targeted at markets other than Russia. In this sense, Boguta explains that Spain is a difficult market due to it being also a major producer of fruits and vegetables; however, the country is working hard to promote Polish apples and increase exports. He commented that during the fair meetings were held with various representatives of Mercamadrid and that they are also working to establish trade relations so that Spanish products can use Poland as the perfect platform to reach other destinations in Scandinavia or in the Eastern markets. 

Furthermore, Boguta stressed that many horticultural products from Spain and Poland do not compete with each other because they are grown at different times. "For example, the tomato campaign in Poland takes place in July, while in Spain it starts at another time; as a result, we can exchange the goods while keeping balanced prices," says Boguta.

Poland is already the EU's fourth largest fruit and vegetable producer, behind Spain, Italy and France. After a meteoric growth since its entry into the EU in 2004, it reached a total volume of fresh fruit and vegetables of 8.1 million tonnes in 2013. The country is already the leading European producer of apples, cherries, persimmons, currants, raspberries, cabbages, carrots and beets. It is also the second largest producer of strawberries, cucumbers and onions, with also a noteworthy production of tomatoes, mushrooms and other vegetables. 

As explained by the Association, there is a strong commitment of Polish agriculture with ecology, since the government banned the use of GM seed varieties in January 2013. They stress that compliance with the quality and safety requirements is also very important.

To promote Polish companies internationally in Spain, the Polish embassy has a department of trade and investment promotion which not only helps in creating a positive image of the Polish economy in Spain, but also promotes Polish-Spanish trade, bilateral investments, and the development of mechanisms for collaboration between institutions from both countries.

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