Last year proved difficult for food producers in Poland. Favourable weather contributed to large crops, while tension in the East and the Russian embargo significantly restricted the export of some to these markets. In 2014, food export to former USSR decreased by as much as 20 percent and many producers and processors were hit with big losses. Data provided by GUS and the Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development shows that the food industry reacts to this situation in a flexible manner and develops international trade in other directions.
Despite unfavourable external conditions, between January and November 2014 export of foods subject to the Russian embargo (a.o. meat, dairy products, vegetables and fruit) increased by 4.5 percent in comparison to an analogous period in the year before, with a total value of 11 bln USD. This was caused mainly by export to EU states, but – what is particularly important – GUS figures also show a growing dynamics of export to non-European countries and to the Balkans.
Since the access to the EU, Polish food export has grown fourfold. The key to more export successes is to further diversify sales markets and product offer. The problems of apple producers who are finding it hard to adapt to the current situation clearly show the risk inherent in dependence on one export destination and non-processed products. On the other hand, increasing the share of processed products in export structure gives easier access to alternative markets and higher profitability rates.
Moreover, food producers and processors should draw conclusions from recent events and consolidate their efforts in order to intensify production, cooperate in export and promote themselves on foreign markets.
Jacek Brzozowski, Adviser to the President of Employers of Poland