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Farmers, growers and transporters protesting in Poland

"Farmers and companies at risk of bankruptcy due to Ukraine flooding the market"

Next to the Red Sea crisis, the apple export from Poland is more difficult at the moment due to a lack of containers, says Jakub Krawczyk, export manager for Polish apple exporter Appolonia: "There was big movement in the orders for Polish apples in the last two months, especially from Asian customers. We wanted to pack as many apples as possible, because we were a little worried about the situation on the Red Sea. Unfortunately, the problem with containers was very big and all the freight prices not only increased a lot, but also transit time has increased by more than 14 days."

Despite the challenges with available containers and longer transit times, the apples did arrive in good condition, also to the customers in South America, Krawczyk explains. "Everybody knows that keeping apples longer in container could affect badly on the quality on the arrival, that's why we decided to not keep apples too long in our ULO chambers and sell most of our stocks earlier. There are many containers still on the way, but we hope that everything will arrive in good condition. Also, the last of our containers arrived to our South America customers and it was a successful season for that region. We still see some potential there and hope to develop our relations further in the next season."

At this point in the season, some varieties are harder to obtain. Krawczyk states that the Polish supermarket promotions also help selling some of the apples faster: "For the last few weeks, there was good demand for Royal Gala, which we have sent mostly overseas. But right now, we see it's slightly harder to buy that variety. Most of the Gala we are left with will be used to supply European customers. From time to time, Polish supermarkets were doing some big promotions on varieties like Champion, which was also speeding up the market a little bit. Golden Delicious is still in stock, that variety was not exported in large volumes so far. We hope this will change in March, when Wester European countries will have less quantities of it available."

Another big issues in Poland are the protests organized by farmers, growers and transporters. Krawczyk feels the government needs to find solutions to the problems, and fast. "There are big protests going on right now in Poland. Farmers, growers and transport companies are demanding from both the EU and the Polish government to reject the EU Green Deal. They also want them to find a solution regarding cheap and unverified quality products from Ukraine, which are flooding our market. This in turn is putting our farmers and company owners into a big risk of bankruptcy. Everybody wants to help Ukraine, but governments need to find an agreement which will be positive for both sides. But we should also remember to put the interest of our own country as the priority, which is what other EU countries are doing."

As there are still sufficient stocks available, it's difficult to predict how long the Polish apple season will continue this year: "Right now, it's very hard to say how long we could sell apples for in this season. There aren't huge quantities of Idared, for example. Many people sold them to the industry or for peeling, instead of leaving it in ULO chambers. I think available volumes of Golden are still quite big, not only for Appolonia, but Poland in general. However, it's hard to say what will happen in the next few months. The price for industry apples did not come down and it's predicted that these prices can be kept until the end of the season," Krawczyk concludes.

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