Report Highlights:

Poland’s MY 2013/14 total apple product is estimated at 2.6 million metric tons, or a decline of nearly 10 percent from the previous year’s record crop. The decline is attributed, in part, to the drop-off in deliveries of “wild” or “backyard” harvested apples to the processing sector. Decreased deliveries will be reflected in lower apple juice production and lesser availability of stock for foreign buyers. On the other hand, dessert apples destined for the fresh market are reported to be of very good quality. Poland, a leading beneficiary of the EU’s School Fruit Scheme, is projected to expand its school year 2013/14 program by nearly 50 percent.

Area planted and production

MY 2013/14 total apple production is estimated at 2.6 million metric tons (MMT). The MY 2012/2013 apple production set a record when a large volume of “wild,” more commonly referred to as “back yard,” production was captured and tallied as it moved into processing channels. The absence a similar sized-contribution from this source resulted in the country recording a 9.7 percent decline in total apple production. Fresh market deliveries of “back yard” apples is not measureable

Poland’s mild 2012/13 winter and frost-free spring left orchards in very good shape. The cool late spring, while having an impact on certain vegetation, had no effect on flower development. Weather conditions during flowering and fruit setting were favorable. Reported local heavy rains and hails affected some orchards at the beginning of summer while late summer dryness had an adverse effect on yield volume for non-irrigated processing apples. Dessert apples, on the other hand, came in at very good quality in part due to investments by producer groups in recent years to upgrade commercial orchards - specifically with irrigation and better organization of production operations. This latter organization refers to on-going projects replacing older stands of trees with newer, higher-yielding ‘dessert’ varietals.

Total area and production data refers to commercial and non commercial orchards producing for both the fresh and the processing markets. Yields vary widely as borders between commercial and non-commercial orchards are not strict. During years of bountiful crops when procurement prices are low some orchards are known to withdraw from commercial activity. Commercial orchard size varies between 5 to 20 hectares (HA) per firm, with yields averaging between 30-60 metric tons (MT) per HA. The majority of commercial orchards are oriented towards the fresh (dessert) and the export markets. The dwarf tree variety is the most common in commercial orchards.

There are about twenty main varieties of apples produced commercially in Poland. The dominant varieties are: Idared, Jonagold, and Champion. Local varieties, like Antonowka, are designated both for the fresh market as well as for industrial processing, because of its higher level of acidity.

Data issued by the government’s statistical office and by stakeholders is inconsistent. Data released by the industry shows MY2012/13 total apple production at 3.5 – 3.7 MMT. If taking this number as a residual figure, the forecast for MY2013/14 apple production would be 3.2 MMT, or approximately 9 percent lower than the previous year.

The latest data published by the government’s Main Statistical Office (GUS) (September 2013) shows MY 2013/14 production at 2.9 MMT, or increasing 1.6 percent in comparison with last year. Meanwhile the Institute of Agriculture and Food Economics in Warsaw estimates 2013/14 apple production at 2.6 MMT, or approximately 9.7 percent less than a year ago. While released statistical data reflect very differing opinions on production estimates, all three sources are in agreement that ‘wild’ or ‘back yard’ apple production is the least reliable estimate in the forecast equation.

Trade

Poland is the largest exporter of apples in the European Union. In MY 2013/14 Poland’s export of fresh apples is expected to decline due to the smaller harvest. Likewise due to the smaller harvest, MY 2013/14 total exports are projected at 970 TMT, or approximately 20 percent less than last year. Keep in mind MY 2012/13 established Poland’s apple export record. The primary export destinations remain: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, which consume 90 percent of Poland’s fresh apple export. Russia, the main buyer among these countries, purchases as much as 60 percent of its imports from Poland. Both Russia and Ukraine are viewed as holding the best prospects for increasing imports of Polish apples over the near term. Intra-EU trade is more disperse with the main clients being Germany and Romania. With consumption flat in Poland, prospects for export growth rest with rising consumption in neighboring eastern European countries. New investments into controlled atmosphere cold storage facilities are planned with capacity expected to increase by 2015 to one million metric tons.

To offset lower production this year imports are expected to increase in order to service market requirements of the processing sector.

CAJ production and trade

Poland is the largest EU producer of apple juice concentrate (CAJ). In MY 2012/13 production rose to 295 TMT, up 31 percent in comparison with the previous year. In MY 2012/13 over 90 percent of CAJ production was exported. In MY 2013/14, the small crop of industrial apples is expected to translate to lower production of CAJ. MY2013/14 CAJ production is projected at 260 TMT, or 12 percent lower than last year. As internal consumption is diminishing the apple processing industry is becoming more reliant on foreign markets for its products.

Policy

Poland is the fourth largest recipient of EU funds for the School Fruit Scheme after Italy, Germany, and Romania.

June 2013 marked the fourth year of the EU "School Fruit Scheme" program in Poland. The program is co-financed by the EU (75 percent) and by Poland (25 percent).

The European Commission divides funds among Member States which have signed up for the program. For the 2013/14 school year Poland received 13.7 million EUR from the EU for the program. This amount is second only to the allocation allotted to Italy. Poland matched this amount with 4.6 million EUR bringing Poland’s School Fruit Scheme program total to 18.3 million EUR.

During the 2009/10 to 2012/13 period, Poland received 9.2 million EUR per year, or 10 percent of the EU total budget for its program. Poland matched this amount with 3.1 million EUR per year from its state budget. The Polish authority administrating the School Fruit Scheme is the Agricultural Market Agency.

Under the program fresh fruits, mostly apples, vegetables and fruit juices, including apple juice, are made available to children free of charge. In accordance to Commission Regulation (EC) No 288/2009 EU member states participating in the program are required to regularly assess the effectiveness of the program. In 2010/11 the Food and Nutrition Institute in Warsaw conducted Poland’s first assessment of the program. The results showed that the program increases consumption of fruit and vegetables and effectively shapes children’s eating habits towards healthier foods