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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » March 31, 2015
Polska... tastes good!
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More Foreign Markets For Polish Fruit
March 31, 2015   
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Polish fruit farmers are exporting more and more fruit. Until recently the main export market was Russia and other countries east of Poland. Today Polish producers are conquering markets in Western Europe, Asia and North Africa.

Poland is a major European player as far as the production and export of fruit is concerned. Seasonal fruit, plentiful in summer and early fall, is especially popular. According to the Central Statistical Office (GUS), over the past years the consumption of fruit in Poland has been steady, at about 55 kg per person a year. Polish people eat about 80 percent domestically-grown fruit and 20 percent imported fruit. Of local fruit, Polish consumers most often eat apples (about 30 percent of consumption), followed by pears, plums and berries.

Polish fruit is appreciated all over the world, in particular for its unique flavor and aroma, the result of traditional cultivation methods and the use of optimal amounts of pesticides. Such fruit is healthy as well as tasty. It has the most nutritional value when eaten freshly picked. Strawberries, for example, are an excellent source of vitamin C and A and vitamins from the B group. They also contain potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium and manganese. They help the body absorb iron from other foods. They neutralize carcinogens, reduce blood pressure and help reduce the level of bad cholesterol. Sour cherries contain large amounts of fruit acids, pectin (a kind of fiber), manganese, a little iron, calcium and iodine. They are a good source of potassium and quite a good source of vitamin C. Sweet cherries have more iodine as well as calcium and iron than sour cherries, despite the latter popularly being considered healthier. They also contain sizable amounts of vitamin A, C and those from the B group as well as flavonoids. Sweet cherries neutralize free radicals and therefore slow down the aging of the skin. They remove toxins and harmful products of metabolism from the body. Raspberries, meanwhile, are a great source of vitamin C and fiber. They contain a little calcium and iron, vitamin E and folic acid, and also salicylic acid. Raspberries also help remove toxins from the body, are good for treating indigestion and diarrhea. Raspberry juice alleviates coughing when you have a cold.

Currants, which are very popular in Poland, have anti-inflammatory properties. They contain a lot of flavonoids, pectin and vitamin C. Blackcurrants have three times more vitamin C than red currants: half a cup of these satisfies the body’s daily demand for this vitamin. Blackcurrant skin contains antibacterial substances effective in combating E. coli bacteria, which can cause intestinal problems. Gooseberries are also anti-inflammatory and strengthen the immune system as well. They improve digestion, speed up the metabolism, and thanks to their diuretic properties also remove harmful products of the metabolism from the body.

Blueberries are also good for you, as they contain vitamin A, C, PP and B vitamins as well as many valuable elements, to mention selenium, zinc and copper. They are a good source of folic acid, phytoestrogens and flavonoids. They contain lots of fiber, neutralize free radicals, kill viruses and bacteria, and reduce the level of bad cholesterol.

Apples are very healthy fruit. They are a good source of vitamin C, contain a lot of potassium, iron, magnesium, copper, silicon, zinc, beta-carotene, quercetin and lots of pectin. Apples slow down the progress of circulatory diseases and cancer and also seal the blood vessels. Apples increase resistance to infections, so they should be eaten by people prone to colds. They are effective at removing toxins and cholesterol from the body. They have a positive effect on the nails, skin and hair.

Plums are a rich source of pectin as well as containing organic acids, flavonoids, vitamin A and E, a little vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and calcium. Substances contained in plums neutralize the negative effect of free radicals. Pears contain a lot of potassium, fiber, iron, vitamin C and quite a lot of simple sugars. They help regulate blood pressure, so they are good for people with hypertension. They stimulate digestion and peristalsis, helping treat constipation.

Production in Poland is dominated by apples (over 70 percent of the domestic fruit market and about 25 percent of total EU production), followed by currants and sour cherries (6 percent each of the Polish market). As far as sour cherries are concerned, Poland is the EU’s biggest producer and one of the leading ones in the world. Poland enjoys a similar position in the production of soft/berry fruits, especially strawberries and raspberries, of which Poland is one of the biggest suppliers to EU countries.

Until recently, Russia was the biggest buyers of Polish fruit, but introduction of an embargo on Polish food last year changed that. Russia’s place as the biggest importer of Polish apples has been taken by Belarus. Apple sales to Belarus increased from 144,900 tons to 260,900 tons, which means that Belarus bought 25 percent of all Polish apple exports. Exports to Kazakhstan, Lithuania and Latvia have grown as well. Exporters have turned to new markets. In the second half of last year Poland sold apples to Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Canada. This February the first batches of Polish apples found their way to India. Apple growers also see significant potential in North Africa, mainly Algeria, Egypt and Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The Russian embargo on Polish apples has caused that domestic consumers ate 20 percent more apples than last year. More these fruits have been processed as well, to make products such as apple concentrate and cider.
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