According to Anna Kitala, an agricultural market expert at BGN BNP Paribas, Poland is the largest producer of cherries in the EU, with a market share of more than 50%, and is also the largest supplier of frozen cherries to the EU. According to Eurostat, Poland has managed to cover 43-53% of EU frozen cherries import demand over the past three seasons.
However, this year's cherry harvest in Poland has been significantly reduced. According to Polish CSO data, the Polish cherry production has dropped by 64% compared to last year and 64% compared to the past 5 years, which has led to a decline in frozen cherries production and exports.
Preliminary figures from Eurostat show that in the first month of the 2017/18 cherry season, in July this year, Poland exported almost 5,200 tonnes of frozen cherries, 24% less than last year.
However, the value of exports has increased due to higher unit prices. Most of these frozen cherries are sold in the EU (over 4,000 tons). Exports to EU countries remained stable compared to the previous year. Sales of cherries to other countries such as Belarus are quite low. Cherry consumption in these countries is around 880kg, 57% less than in July 2016.
Belarus, as an importer of Polish frozen cherries, has grown significantly in importance since Russia imposed an embargo on EU foods in 2014. From 2011/12 to 2013/14, Poland's cherry exports to Belarus accounted for about 0.3-0.4% of total exports, and from 2014/15 to 2016/17, this share has risen to about 18-31%.