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Article: Adverse weather to close Polish strawberry crop

09 July 2020

This article is from our food commodities dated 06/07/20.

Heavy rains and high temperatures have put an end to the promising strawberry crop in Poland, which could be smaller than last year's.

Last year, Poland harvested 175,000 tonnes of strawberries.

Strawberries are still purchased by processing companies, but the quality is poor and some estimate that the industry could potentially source 30% less raw material from Poland this season.

One of the main issues is the development of grey mould which is caused by rains and moist. This is because growers have invested more on protecting their plants from the predicted and recurring drought.

Prices were highly volatile across the season, starting from PLN3.50-3.60 (USD0.88-0.90) per kilogram and quickly reaching a promising PLN3.70-3.80/kg, but then they dropped to PLN3.0-3.30/kg when heavy rains hit the crop and raw material for juicing was paid in some weeks as low as PLN1.50/kg. As the season draws to an end and fruit volumes have declined, prices for freezing have increased to PLN3.70-4.0/kg ex-fields for fruit in perfect shape, colour and without sand, but they are still lower than PLN3.9-4.2/kg paid last year. This increase had no or little effect on the prices contracted between processors and buyers.

Prices of strawberries for pressing are similar to last year with processors paying PLN2.6/kg against PLN2.7/kg of one year ago.

"The strawberry crop is more or less over in Poland. The quality was bad, and it will affect profitability due to extended losses and out-sorts," a source told IHS Markit.

IQF uncalibrated class II sold mostly at EUR1.30-1.40 (USD1.46-1.57) per kilogram. Some processors are trying to lift prices now, but opportunities are limited as buyers seem to be covered for the season.

Higher prices were marked by smaller strawberries: 15/25 mm strawberry in the range of EUR1.80-1.90/kg ex-works due to low productivity and smaller stocks from the season before. In the same period last year, the average price for uncalibrated was EUR1.60/kg, while 15/25 mm was EUR1.75/kg.

The end of the season for strawberries is confirmed by the wholesale market prices reporting lower volumes available for fresh ranging between PLN7.0-10/kg.

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