Poland. Falling production of frozen veg, exports up


According to the Central Statistical Office of Poland (GUS), the country's frozen vegetable production in the 2015/2016 campaign in plants employing 50 people or more amounted to 571 thousand tonnes, compared to 586 thousand tonnes in the previous season (-2.6%). The reason for this decline was the much lower availability of raw materials in the domestic market, although looking at the decrease in the production of fresh vegetables, the fall in the frozen food production was relatively low. According to the GUS, in 2015, the total vegetable production in Poland stood at less than 3.8 million tonnes, about 18 percent less than a year earlier, explains Mariusz Dziwulski, expert in agricultural market analysis at BGZ BNP Paribas.

Dziwulski stresses that despite the decline in the production volume in the previous season, Polish frozen vegetable exports have actually increased. According to Eurostat data, in the first 11 months of the 2015/2016 season (July 2015-May 2016), the country's foreign sales amounted to 407 thousand tonnes and were about 7 percent higher than a year earlier. It should be noted, however, that this was mostly the result of strong sales growth in the third quarter of 2015 (+27 percent).

Since the beginning of 2016, however, shortages in the supply of frozen foods have been increasingly visible and frozen vegetable sales have clearly slowed down. EU statistics show that, in the first five months of 2016, Poland has exported 188 thousand tonnes of frozen vegetables, about 4 percent less than last year.

"The frozen vegetable market is still affected by trade restrictions from Russia. The volume of exports of frozen vegetables during the period at hand of the previous season was nearly 3 and 8 percent lower than two and three seasons earlier, respectively, with non-EU markets receiving 25 and 17 percent less frozen vegetables, reports the expert from BGZ BNP Paribas.

He added that, as in the case of many products in the fruit and vegetable sector, the decline in shipments to Russia was offset by strong growth in sales in Belarus, with an increase of 38 percent (to 55.3 thousand tonnes). Also worth noting is the particularly strong growth of sales of frozen vegetables to the US (+53 percent to 12 thousand tonnes) and Saudi Arabia (about 170 percent, to 6.9 thousand tonnes).


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