Polish farmers have adapted to the Russian sanctions

They found a way to circumvent the embargo, but most importantly, have opened up new markets for their apples.
Looking for a Polish farmer Krzysztof Czarnecki difficult to guess that more recently he has been hit by Russian grocery kontrsanktsy. His family owns a farm of 60 hectares close to Warsaw, where he grows apples, and for many years the majority of the crop is about 1000 tons of apples a year, he sold in Russia. It was not until August 2014, when Russia was in response to Western sanctions because of the situation in the Ukraine banned imports of food from the EU.

According to the Statistical Office of Poland, in 2014 it was the largest by weight apple exporter in the world. In 2013, 55% of the crop exported to Russia, so the Polish farmers are stronger than the others affected by the embargo.

Importers from other European countries have benefited from the Russian ban, to reduce the price of Polish apples. According Czarnecki, its revenue in 2014 was reduced by half. "The consequences of the ban for Polish farmers were great, - he says. - Of course, the loss of the largest customer impact very negatively on you. We are the largest exporter in the world, and then were pressed against the wall and did not know what to do with our BULocks ".

Some Polish producers, who did not have enough storage space, panicked and began to sell apples for less cost. Another more fortunate because they could wait until spring, when prices rose.

Farmers have also found a way around the embargo. They paid to intermediaries from countries such as Serbia and Belarus, which are not included in the European Union, so they changed the documentation and thus exported apples to Russia, said another farmer Marcin Hermanovich. "Everyone knows that these apples were not for customers in those countries and to export to Russia. As I heard, change the documentation for one truck cost about 500 euros, "- he said, adding that, in his opinion, did not suffer more than Polish farmers, and Russian consumers, prices for which have increased.

According Hermanovicha once Poland joined the EU in 2004, it has become more focused than the Russian, and the European market. Now it exports to Russia only 15% of apples, but in 2014 its profit still declined by 25% due to lower prices. In 2014, increased e HermanovichExporting to new markets, particularly in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong. According to him, in Africa and Asia have markets available, simply they can not go beyond one year: it is necessary to grow new varieties and to get permission of the local authorities, which control the quality of products. Hermanovich sure that Russian kontrsanktsii can make and other farmers to follow his example: "The positive side of the embargo is that not only we, but also other Polish companies to seek new markets. And because of the political factor, they no longer look so much towards Russia, as before. "

The Polish government is trying to help food exporters to enter new markets and conclude bilateral agreements with other states, according to the Ministry of Agriculture General Counsel Zofia Krzhizhanovskaya. Canada has opened its market to Polish apples, as Japan and Ukraine are now imported beef.

The state provides financial assistance and. When Russia imposed an embargo, it had paid compensation to farmers from the state budget. According Czarnecki, he received 800 zlotys (190 Hebrewo) per hectare. Also in the framework of the EU state can buy back 15% destined for export to Russia of apple and give it to charity.

Russian sanctions remain in force, but Krzhizhanovskaya not so pessimistic about the prospects for this year. "Given last year's experience, farmers can wait until prices rise, or simply to export apples to Serbia, if they stayed with the channel 2014, - she says. - There is no hurry, and farmers do not expect so many problems. "

The consequences of the ban were felt for Poland. If prior to the embargo of food exports to Russia amounted to EUR 100 million per month, but this year it dropped to about 30 million euros. But Russia accounts for only 4% of total exports, while the United Kingdom and Germany - about 80%. According BGZ BNP Paribas, food exports from Poland in 2014 increased by 4.5% to € 21.3 billion due to higher deliveries in Belgium, France and Serbia and Belarus. In 2015, the bank's analysts expect growth to 8% as a result of a rise in price of products.