On the back of an increase in demand for soft fruits, more and more Polish greenhouse growers are switching from cucumber and tomato production to raspberry and strawberry production.
Marek Marzec from Ewa-bis said that switching over to soft fruits has become a great option for growers who are using the old style greenhouses.
"There was a big boom around 25 to 30 years ago, to build the wooden style framed high tunnels covered with foil. The increase in demand for fruits such as raspberry or strawberries has given growers the opportunity to switch over to these high value crops with very little investment. People are familiar with the technology, it is really cheap for the growers to implement and the product value is high. Many growers have already started growing on a smaller scale and, once successful, I think that we should be able to increase our domestic production to a higher level." shared Marek.
Prices for traditional greenhouse vegetables are not stable in Poland and can change on a whim, depending on market demand at that moment. Marek said that this isn't the case for soft fruit, where demand is increasing domestically, as well as in neighbouring countries like Germany and the Czech Republic.
Cucumber growers for example, who receive around 20-30 cents (1 euro max), on average, are now making around €15-20 per kilo for raspberries at the beginning of the season.
Markets like Germany are very strict when it comes to MRL levels, which can make it difficult at times for Polish apple growers where there are hundreds in a small area.
"It is almost impossible to control the conditions in something like apple growing, because you are often at the mercy of the growers around you. This is the great thing about soft fruit production, the grower is in complete control because of it being grown in a covered environment, which offers automatic protection. This is another reason why we are very interested in venturing into the area as a company." said Marek.
"It is important that we keep on top of new developments. The world is moving so fast and the market is developing so quickly that it is important not to fall asleep and miss a good opportunity."