China has opened its doors to Polish apples, with a rail link between the two nations providing suppliers with a potential avenue to market.
According to Channel NewsAsia, Chinese president Xi Jinping signed off on an access agreement in Warsaw earlier this week, which allows the trade to commence immediately.
The move comes as Polish apple suppliers look to diversify their export interests, after losing access to their core market, Russia, last year.
As the world’s largest apple producing nation by volume – harvesting an estimated 43m tonnes over the 2015/16 season (July-June) according to a recent USDA Foreign Agricultural Service report – the Chinese market is heavily dominated by domestic supply. However, exporters from North and South America, Europe and New Zealand have carved out footholds for their offerings over recent years.
While Poland will have a fight on its hands to position its fruit in such a competitive retail environment, Dominik Wozniak, managing director of Polish apple cooperative Rajpol, sees potential for a wide range of Polish offerings.
“Of course the standard variety will be Royal Gala, but we also want to showcase varieties like Redprince, Ligol and Idared,” Wozniak told Asiafruit. “China is a big apple producer but also has a big population, so we see an opening to offer our Polish apples.”
President Xi was in Poland to promote trade linkages between the two nations. Alongside his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, Xi welcomed the arrival of a China Railway Express service from Chengdu.
Being dubbed the “new silk road”, the trans-continental rail service holds potential for the fruit trade, according to Wozniak.
“Sea transport will take around 40 days but we have a rail connection between Lodz, in central Poland, and Chengdu which only takes 14 days,” Wozniak said.