The 2023/24 campaign has begun in earnest for one of Poland’s leading grower-exporters, with early sales positive and overseas markets receptive
As every football fan will tell you, each new season starts with high hopes, and it is was no different for Polish apple leader Rajpol when the 2023/24 campaign kicked off in September.
Beginning with a lower crop year-on-year when compared with 2022/23, the group’s remaining stocks were also completely gone, according to chief executive officer Dominik Wozniak.
“The first three months, September to November, were excellent in terms of sales,” he tells Fruitnet. “December saw a little bit of a slowdown, but sales were still good. We hope for good sales in the first two quarters of 2024.”
Rajpol also produces summer fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and cherries. Combined with apples, pears and watermelons, its total production comes to more than 60,000 tonnes of fruit.
Topfruit is the focus right now, though. Rajpol’s pears are sold in their entirety on the domestic market, but around 40-50 per cent of its apples go to overseas markets.
This is not just the EU but also growth regions in the Middle East, India, Colombia and Costa Rica, among others.
Like the rest of the industry, Rajpol faces a myriad of obstacles each year and 2023/24 is no exception.
“Every season is different and we have a changing economic environment,” Wozniak explains. “Some years we are facing higher costs for energy and raw materials, but then in some we have the advantage of lower transport costs.
”We have to be vigilant and react fast. For example, in only one month, from 1 October to 1 November, Polish currency lost 10 per cent compared to the dollar and 7 per cent to the euro – that is really big trouble.”
The fields of technology and sustainability are also important for the company, and the former plays a key role in the business, Wozniak confirms. For many years Rajpol has utilised presizing lines with highly developed software, and it will soon invest in more modern machinery with AI.
“Sustainability is another important topic and Rajpol is taking action now,” he notes. “The best examples are where we have installed solar panels. We have already installed 1.2MW of solar panels, and more will be added soon.
”We now cover 30 per cent of our needs, but we want to cover 60 per cent in the next two years. We are also exchanging our trucks to the most modern available, with lower CO2 emissions.”