Corona crisis seems to be the first topic everywhere, but it is not the only problem for the Polish soft fruit sector. Definitely corona caused major problems with employees working normally on fields. Many Ukrainians decided to go back home and stay there until the risk of the disease is over or will lower down. They made the decision within a day after the Ukrainian government decided to close the borders on 28 of March. Considering the fact that the biggest soft fruit valley in Poland is located in Lubelskie region, so right next to the border with Ukraine, employees disappeared almost within a day from the region.
Another big problem is the weather: the winter this season was extremely mild in the whole Europe. This means that many plants started their vegetation already. The first leaves appeared on strawberry fields in Poland so the season will start really fast this year. This however is a problem for farmers as they don’t know whether to take out the protection against frost and let the plants grow. In case of light frost the flower buds on the plant will freeze and plans won’t give any fruit anymore.
But even if frost won’t be harmful for the plants still the drought might cause problems in availability of fruits. There is not even a memory of after rains in February which moisturized soils and gave hope to Polish farmers for a good season. Fields are dry and the weather forecast does not announce any changes for now in this matter.
The last problem are the limitations in transport of goods, not even the harvested fruit but plant production products and fertilizers and it’s prices that might have change due to the eur/pln exchange rate. And next to the price of those products, Polish producers are hesitating to buy them at all as if they won’t have employees to work on the field all the investment will be lost anyway.
One thing is known for sure: all the uncertainty will be visible in the prices and paid by the consumer at the end.