FAS Warsaw sets Polish apple production 2018/19 at 4.5 million tons
In marketing year (MY) 2018/19, Post estimates Poland’s total apple crop at 4.5 million tons, a 61-percent increase over last year. Pest and disease-related issues declined in 2018/19 due to dry weather conditions. Although apple quality is good, industry stakeholders expressed concern about some Polish varieties’ low suitability for long-term storage. Post forecasts that fresh apple and concentrated apple juice (CAJ) exports will increase.
Area planted and production
FAS Warsaw estimates Poland’s apple production in 2018/19 at 4.5 million tons, a 61-percent increase over 2017/18. 2018/19 production will exceed the most recent three-year average by over 40 percent. According to the Government of Poland’s (GOP) Main Statistical Office, apple production in 2018/19 reached 3.9 million tons, up from 2.4 million tons in 2017/18. These figures differ from industry’s production estimates, which vary from 4.5 to 5.0 million tons in 2018/19, and 2.9 million tons in 2017/18. This data inconsistency has existed for several years.
Poland’s apple area planted decreased in 2018/19, mostly due to ongoing orchard modernization, as growers are actively replacing older rootstock. Some Polish apple growers have converted orchard area into other types of production following a sustained period of low apple prices. Polish apple growers generally look to increase yields instead of increasing orchard acreage.
The 2017/18 winter was mild and winterkill was low, with minor damage to young trees during a late February/early March cold snap. 2018/19 growing conditions were generally favorable. Higher-than-average temperatures in April accelerated tree development and shortened the flowering period.
In 2016-17, newer dessert-varieties began to fruit, as some Polish apple growers are adjusting based on market demand and storage stability. According to industry sources, Red Delicious, Gala, and Prince are starting to replace more traditional varieties. However, official statistics indicate that these changes are occurring slowly.
Older varieties, particularly Idared, are increasingly used for processing. The most popular dessert varieties include Idared, Golden, Gala, and Champion. Local varieties like Antonowka are used for fresh consumption and for processing. Polish officials and industry associations are increasingly recommending Royal Gala, Gala “Schniga”, Golden Delicious Reinders, Red Jonaprince, Jonagored, Red Delicious, Red Chief, and Red Cap for future development.
Producer organizations are slowly consolidating as a means to reduce input costs and gain marketing leverage. Many producers view these organizational changes as an important step to maintain the viability of the Polish apple industry.
Post expects 2018/19 fresh apple exports will reach 1.1 million tons, about 440,000 tons more than 2017/18. 2017/18 exports decreased by 37 percent from 2016/17, with notably lower exports to Belarus and Egypt.
Prior to 2014, Russia accounted for roughly 50 percent of Polish exports and was the main non-EU market for Polish apples. Although Belarus and Kazakhstan grew in importance following the 2014 Russian import ban, 2017/18 exports to these markets decreased by 60 percent from the previous year. 2018/19 apple exports to other EU Member States increased by four percent.