Producer organisations providing support for farmers and fruit growers
Poland plays an important role in the fruit growing sector in Europe and, together with Spain and Italy, is one of three countries in which two thirds of the total EU fruit growing area is concentrated. Within the EU, Poland accounts for 11% of total fruit production, and for 26% of total apple production. Unfortunately, still a small number of producers of fruit and vegetables belong to a producer organisation. Currently, around 20% of production is introduced though organisations.
The fact is that, just like any other industry, the fruit sector needs to be unified in order to be strong. Producer groups, which can negotiate better terms with both retail chains and foreign clients, should have a clear vision and growth strategy. The aim of such groups is to provide fruit growers with better market conditions as well as research and technology, and to secure the storage of their crops.
At the moment, we are working on both increasing exports and entering new markets, including Indonesia, Taiwan and other Asian countries, but also completely new, prospective directions. In the 2019/2020 season, Poland had to face a lot of competition in distant markets from EU countries (France, Italy or Germany) and also from countries such as Serbia, Moldova or Ukraine, which are each very focused on building the fruit growing sector. The fact that these countries account for nearly 60% of all producer organisations recognised by governments is also important here. Winning new, distant export markets is time-consuming and difficult. Thanks to the base, commitment and resources offered by producer groups, we are able to export top quality Polish products and to compete with foreign exporters. As a result, Poland is also one of the four largest apple producers in Europe.
Producer organisations promote sustainable agricultural practices. They create jobs and promote the quality of both regional and local agriculture. What prompts farmers to set up or join producer organisations and associations are mostly economic and technical benefits, though the social aspect is important too. In the times of COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted (and continues to result in) unexpected additional cost of labour and transport, producer groups are able to help farmers communicate with higher authorities, for example by submitting requests on their behalf. Such groups also improve the technical base, which makes it possible for farmers to increase the performance of their farms. Organisations are seen as the bargaining power of farmers when negotiating with other entities from the food sector. And as far as social benefits are concerned, the most important aspect is that such organisations function in a democratic way, thus creating the sense of community and increasing confidence.
UNIA OWOCOWA is currently the largest association in Poland supporting Polish producers and distributors of fruit and vegetables. Its activities are based on the grassroots involvement of its members, and it constantly takes measures aimed at improving the conditions for exports. It also plays a part in strengthening the position of Polish exporters on foreign markets, and promotes the high quality and unique taste of Polish food in a number of ways.
Last Updated on January 27, 2021 by Łukasz