The war in Ukraine will be a big problem for the next apple season in Poland. This country tends to have a heavy dependence on Ukrainian labor. There is still no plan, and an exporter hopes that the Government will soon arrive with aid for the apple sector.
Although some Polish apple exporters have already finished the season, Genesis Fresh is still in the middle of it. Jan Nowakowski, director of this Polish apple exporter, says that the season has been going quite well, given the circumstances. "Our apple season is still going on. We will have apples until the new season starts in September. It has been quite a good season, given the circumstances of the war in Ukraine. Prices have been subdued and are now even going down. Because the season has been somewhat unstable and there has been an overproduction in Europe, sales have had their ups and downs. From May to the end of June, we have a grant from the Polish Government. The aid has reached 200,000 tons of apples with €0.065 /kg for growers. Double-digit inflation in 2022 and rising production costs make this a much-needed boost for growers this season."
A big problem for Polish apple growers is the lack of workforce, as Ukrainian men have returned home to fight for their country. "Much of the male workforce usually available in Polish markets has been greatly reduced due to the war in Ukraine and the obligation that Ukrainians felt to defend their country. At the same time, many Ukrainian women came to Poland, and they were able to support the industry, as they will probably be available to work next season. We will have to think about looking for male labor in other countries as long as the war continues."
"The war in Ukraine slowed down or even stopped the export of their apples, which contributed to diverting European apples to the markets. I see that many current efforts are focused on helping the Ukrainians with the war. However, However, we also have to look to the future to see how the new season will be, taking into account the limitation of the Ukrainian workforce. I think there is still a lot to do in this aspect. Starting with the Government and with the communities to plan to hire and help growers and grower groups to ensure we have enough people to pick, harvest, grade, and pack all apples for the new season Forecasts suggest we will have higher volumes of apples this season, so solving the labor issue is essential," Nowakowski concludes.