Blueberry reality in Poland is undergoing major changes. Until now, a significant part of production took place on specialized farms where blueberries were the only or dominant plants. From 2-4 years it begins to change.
Until now, medium-sized farms of 10-30 ha had the largest impact on production levels, in which very good quality blueberries prevailed. They thrived very well, but now there is a shortage of employees to harvest fruit. These farms are beginning to look to the future with fear, usually there is no plan to increase planting area here, if it is only exchange of the type of blueberries. In the future, the share in the total production of such plantations will unfortunately decrease.
However, this does not mean that the plant growth dynamics are low. A lot of new small plantations with an area of less than 5 ha are created, where blueberry is grown alongside other fruit species and plans are planned to produce blueberries in parallel with other fruit species or vegetables.
It is here that the largest increase in planting is visible and the share of these small plantations will clearly increase in the overall production of Polish blueberries.
Such fragmentation of production will create some problems that may adversely affect the reputation of Polish blueberries.
The small area of such crops means that this species is treated as secondary and such farms have problems with implementing basic principles. Basic certificates are missing, employees are not properly trained, standards of cooling blueberries as soon as possible after harvest are not respected, often there is no cold store in such farms, or it is not open for the season, because the daily harvest there is 500kg.
This is not a big problem if such fruit goes to the local market. However, it is often different. Such blueberries are bought at a slightly lower price by many companies. There they are completed and sent for export. It often happens that on one pallet there are blueberries from 2-3 producers, and on one car from 10. What does it mean, I don't have to explain, because everyone knows what anonymity leads to and the inability to determine the producer of a given batch of fruit.
Regarding blueberry trade, unfortunately there is a tendency that foreign customers prefer to trade with larger companies than with medium-sized producers. It is hardly surprising, because it is easier to have 2 suppliers than 20. However, there is one condition, the goods must be of adequate quality.
The end of the 2019 season has shown that such a system can cause problems, problems for foreign customers and producers of good blueberries.
That is why in my opinion blueberry trade should be based on direct shipments of the producer - foreign confectioner, especially at the end of the season, when many small producers have quality problems, and many companies have a leaky screen and accept such fruit for shipments.
All transport from one producer gives a much greater guarantee that blueberries meet the requirements, here there is no anonymity, here the owner of the farm is personally responsible for each packaging.
This is our philosophy for further functioning in this industry. The production and export of blueberries 15-20 tons per week throughout the season is the amount over which you can have personal control and be sure that the batch that is shipped meets the standards of Western European customers.