The apple situation in Poland seemed pretty dire, with some exporters reporting losses of 80 per cent or higher. Now that the storm has passed and damages have been assessed, there is a better view of what the damages will actually look like.
Emilia Lewandowska is the export manager for Polish apple exporter Fruit-Group. According to her, it is evident that there will be less production of Polish apples this year: “It will be no surprise some of the orchards have sustained heavy losses due to the frost in Poland. However I’ve been able to do some research and now have a more clear vision on where the damages are and which varieties seem to be okay.”
The damage varies between varieties and Lewandowska is convinced the big winner is the Golden variety: “If we rate the situation from best to worst, the Golden varieties definitely come out ahead. In our region we only expect a 30 per cent loss for these varieties. Gala and Champion follow closely with 60 per cent of the crops still being intact. The big losers are Idared (80 per cent damaged), Jonagold (90 per cent damaged) and Ligol (85 per cent damaged) varieties. In last week some of the areas had hail next to the frost. We expect that season 2019 will be worse than 2017.”
The Polish government isn’t about to just abandon its growers and are starting a program for them: “Yes, there will be a government program. They are currently setting meetings with the growers to see how they can help. It’s still uncertain what the outcome will be and what these programs will entail, but at least they are starting up something.”
Although Fruit-Group their produce contains of apples for about 85 per cent, they also have other produce, like plums, blueberries and sour cherries. Luckily, these fruits have not been affected in our area so much by the frost: “When we look at the sour cherries we do see some damages, but I think about 80 per cent of the produce has survived. For our plums expectations are 50 per cent. The blueberries have not sustained any large damages, and the weather is currently very good so we expect to have successful seasons for our other fruits.” Lewandowska concludes.