There is a risk that Polish organic apples will not have enough labor for the complete harvest, says Agro Queen's purchase & quality manager Mr. Łukasz Michalak: “The crop for organic apples seems to be good in cultivated orchards, wild orchards are empty because of the drought. The harvest is delayed by about two weeks. The shortage of employees for the harvest does worry us. We expect good quality crops but there is a risk of the apples remaining on the trees if there are not sufficient people to pick them.”
Most of the organic production in Poland is used for the industrial industry, as foreign clients prefer to buy their organic apples more locally, Michalak explains. “The demand is quite stable year by year. Our polish organic production has very good quality and is well known by our customers who appreciate its attributes. Unfortunately, most of the production goes to the industry sector. It’s because our western customers prefer local organic production and support it over importing organic apples from other regions.”
Despite increasing costs all around, Agro Queens is actually receiving proposals with lower prices than there were last season. Michalak worries this is not sustainable for the growers that cultivate these organic apples: “The cost of production for apples in Poland has significantly increased, but it seems that nobody cares… We get proposals that contain prices that are lower than we saw last year. It isn’t just inflation and the higher costs of production that we have to take into account, the main problem is actually the fact that the price for transportation has doubled. It’s kind of sad; behind every apple is a history of a family that has grown it… I love my growers, they are close friends to us. There is a lot of talk about sustainable sources and fair play to all the growers, but when push comes to shove the reality simply isn’t that.”
“I call upon all of our customers, please let our growers survive this storm. Close the excel sheet and imagine their children are our future and your customers. Please do not decrease the price drastically. We plan to sell as much as we can until the end of the year, while we have the old contract for energy prices. This could result in supply being higher than demand, but in 2023 the energy prices will simply increase too much.” Michalak concludes.
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