Poland: fewer carrots due to drought

Although Poland is the third largest carrot producer in the European Union, after Germany and France, the production of this vegetable has been falling in recent years. It is easy to see the correlation between significant declines in carrot production and water shortages.

Droughts caused by climate change in Poland in the last decade occurred in 2015 and have occurred almost every year since 2018 - and this is visible in carrot production. In 2017, 827 thousand tons carrots were produced, while in 2023 only 580 thousand tons got to the market. This is a decrease of almost 30% in just 6 years.

carrots lying on a woorden bord outside
Beeld: ©Pexels/ mali maeder

According to ARiMR data, in 2023 290 thousand farmers reported drought losses, of which in the case of 139 thousand applications losses amounting to more than 30% of the average annual plant production on the farm were calculated. In the long term, climate change threatens our food security, i.e. free access to high-quality food. Drought is also becoming an increasingly serious problem in Poland. Lack of rainfall and high temperatures have a negative impact on agricultural production.

The impact of drought, in addition to other factors, such as inflation or rising energy prices, has already been felt by Polish consumers when buying carrots in stores: in 2021, a kilogram cost PLN 2.79, in 2022 - PLN 3.20 and in 2023 even PLN 4.99.

Poland is facing a price increase of more than half in just two years.

Import

So who fills the production gap? Since about 250 thousand tons of carrots disappear from the market in a few years, they have to be imported. A lot of carrots come to Poland from Egypt, but their quality varies. Poland imports the most carrots from Germany - the value of carrot and turnip imports increased by 50% in 2022 compared to 2023. In total, in 2023, carrot imports to Poland increased by 60%.

Producers admit that weather and climate conditions pose the greatest threat to production. In order to produce good quality vegetables, the weather must be good. Long periods without rainfall cause production problems. High costs, even of adequate storage space, cause farms to specialize.

Drought prevention

How can drought be counteracted? The best solution is conservation cultivation. The presence of plant residues on the soil surface, creating mulch, protects the soil from excessive evaporation, from the destructive effects of heavy rain or irrigation. It limits the growth of weeds and creates favorable conditions for the development of beneficial fauna. This cultivation method allows for a reduction in the number of treatments, reduction of travel and soil compaction.

Source: Przedsińôbiorca Rolny 5/24