Chinese representatives plan to assess different Polish apple varieties for a potential market opening next year.
After talks were fast-tracked in August, Canada will now take some market pressure off Polish apple exporters.
The Russian ban on European goods has made it tough for Polish apple exporters. The of those exporters, Elpa Fruit, will look to weather the tough situation by diverting some of the fruit that was destined for the Russian market to the Far East.
“It will be a difficult year with a lot of challenges,” said Michal Grodzki, manager for Elpa Fruit. “It will be very difficult for Polish growers who sent their apples to Russia, and I’m especially worried for smaller growers, for whom bankruptcy is a very real possibility.” About 60 to 70 percent of the apples grown in Poland go to Russia and Belarus during normal years, so a huge part of this year’s crop will need to go elsewhere. The domestic market only takes five percent of production, so it’s not likely it can absorb much of what used to go to Russia. Western Europe has plenty of fruit of its own, so the competition there doesn’t make that market a realistic option. But the Far and Middle East and North Africa are good options.
“Most Polish companies will focus on markets where they’ve already sent fruit,” said Grodzki. “You’re always trying to find new markets, but we’ve already exported to the Netherlands, France, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Egypt,Tunisia and Scandinavia around 20% while 10% of our production to the domestic market.”
Serbia, Romania, Kuwait, India and China are all examples of new markets that could take additional fruit in the future, but the difficulty of securing new contacts and building an export program in a new territory means most exporters will focus on the Middle East.
“There are a lot of possibilities, but it’s not easy to establish a new market. It takes a lot of time and a lot of work to find and work with new customers,” explained Grodzki. “So at the moment the main targets are the Emirates and Egypt, because they know our apples.” He noted that consumers in that region are familiar with their varieties and prefer red apples, like Royal Gala, Gloucester, Red Jonaprince, Golden Delicious and Ida Red varieties. Those apples are favored because consumers there know those varieties through their dealings with Western European brokers. But introducing new varieties may be an option, as consumers in the region simply aren’t aware of most other varieties.
“Russia is such a huge market, so I don’t think we’ll be able to switch all of the fruit we sent there to other markets – I wish it were possible, but it’s probably not,” said Grodzki. “I just hope that the situation gets better in a few months.”
Elpa Fruit Co. Ltd
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Author: Yzza Ibrahim / Carlos Nunez
Publication date: 10/10/2014
Canadian authorities have vowed to speed up market access for Polish apple growers, who like their own fishermen have been impacted by Russia’s food import embargo.
After much speculation, Russian authorities have finally acted. Polish apples and a range of other produce items are now banned.
Traditional retailers are dying out in one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies, with locally-focused convenience and discount outlets swooping in.
Polish blueberry company Polskie Jagody has enjoyed the benefits of greater EU investment.
Rajpol’s Dominik Wozniak discusses a year of rising demand for Polish cherries abroad and at home.
Though tomato exports in Poland has been declining for several years, reaching a nadir during an E. coli outbreak in 2011, Polish tomato production facilities are improving. Especially for greenhouse-grown tomatoes, growers are investing money in technological updates.
“The export of Polish tomatoes has been decreasing since 2008,” said Jan Nowakowski of Genesis Fresh. “The lowest volume came in 2011, when an E. coli crisis broke out across Europe.” She added that not only have exports declined to the point where Poland is now a net importer of tomatoes, but the markets to which growers ship their tomatoes have also changed. Where most exports used to reach Western European markets, now growers are increasingly focusing on markets to the east.
“We’ve changed from European to Russian markets,” said Nowakowski. “Our main markets are now our neighbors.” Belarus, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Russia now figure prominently in exporters’ plans. The manner in which tomatoes are grown has also been changing. The nation’s annual production of 700,000 tons is still split between open-field and greenhouse growing, but the nation’s greenhouses are changing.
“There are still significant amounts of small sized glasshouses delivering to local or eastern markets,” said Nowakowski, “but new, state-of-the-art glasshouses are replacing those built 20 and 30 years ago.” While the number of greenhouses is diminishing, it’s expected that greenhouse tomato production will increase as old facilities are replaced with new ones that can churn out higher yields. Especially as technological innovations from Holland find their way to Poland, Nowakowski believes that the quality, shelf life and volume of Polish tomatoes will increase. That would go well with what Nowakowski believes is the best quality that Polish tomatoes possess: their taste.
“The main round variety is Admiro, which has a good taste, good shelf life, and it keeps fresh over long distances,” said Nowakowski. “Our beef tomatoes are Growdena and Bogota varieties, which have shorter shelf lives, but they both have a great taste that is appreciated by Polish and Russian consumers.”