Poland: agricultural news week 18

In this weeks newsletter read about strarting strawberry season, new virus detected in tomatoes in Poland and a third penalty for Biedronka stores.

a closeup of a strawberry

Strawberry season delayed

Strawberry vegetation is delayed in Poland with 3 weeks. The first fruits are expected at the end of May. Strawberry plants in accelerated crops are already blooming.

This year, frost of -6 degrees appeared and, additionally, strong winds made it difficult to protect the plantation against low temperatures.

Due to the generally cool weather, the strawberry has a problem getting nutrients from the soil because the plant does not like cold weather. Agrotechnical procedures, which operate at a sufficiently high temperature, were also difficult.

Therefore, this year's first strawberries may be of lower quality. However, when the temperatures increase, the plants will gain more vigor and the fruit will effectively achieve greater size and yield.

The first domestic harvest from tunnel crops is expected around May 26. On the other hand, strawberries from greenhouse crops in Poland are available from mid-April already. There are more and more of them, as the habits of Polish consumers are also changing, and they are more and more willing to reach for this fruit in April.

Source: Sadownictwo.com.pl/ SadyOgrody.pl

tomatoes on a wooden background

ToBRFV found again in Poland

Tomato brown rugose fruit virus was first detected in Poland in March 2020 and eradicated. Since then, the virus has been found again in three provinces.

ToBRFV was found in the province of Podkarpackie at the end of November 2020, in a seed lot produced from tomato mother plants (Solanum lycopersicum) grown in a greenhouse (50 m²). Also ToBRFV was found in the province of Michałowice at the end of January 2021, in a seed lot produced from Capsicum annuum mother plants grown in a greenhouse (50 m²). The mother plants had been inspected in July 2020 and did not present symptoms.

In both cases, the infested seeds were destroyed. Official inspection will be carried out on host plants of ToBRFV in the entire place of production in 2021.

Also ToBRFV was found in the province of Łódzkie (municipality of Wola Krzysztoporska) in 4 lots of plants for planting of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) grown in a greenhouse in February 2021. Official phytosanitary measures will be implemented.

The pest status of tomato brown rugose fruit virus in Poland is officially declared as: Present, at low prevalence, under eradication.

Source: Hortidaily.com after EPPO via NPPO of Poland (2020-11, 2021-01, 2021-02)

Polish retail chain 'Biedronka'- sign in front of a shop

Third punishment for Biedronka retail chain

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) once again imposed a financial penalty on the Biedronka chain of stores. The reason was complaints about incorrect indication of the country of origin of vegetables and fruit in many stores of the chain and the results of the Trade Inspection inspection confirmed this.

- Reliable information about the offered products is the basic obligation of the entrepreneur and the inalienable right of the consumer. Meanwhile, in Biedronka stores, consumers who wanted to buy Polish potatoes, tomatoes or apples were often misled. Our investigation showed that in many cases the information on the labels differed from that on the collective packaging or in the delivery documents. These violations were systemic and long-lasting. That is why I imposed a fine of over PLN 60 million on Jeronimo Martins Polska, says Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK.

During the procedure, the Office took into account the results of inspections carried out by the Trade Inspection in the fourth quarter of 2019, the first and second quarter of 2020 and in February 2021. The inspectors compared the data on the shop signs with those on collective or unit packaging and in delivery documents. They paid particular attention to fruit and vegetables that were declared Polish. They took a closer look at those for which there was the greatest risk of giving the wrong country, because they grow both in Poland and in other countries, e.g. potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, apples, strawberries. Inspectors checked a total of 263 Biedronka stores across the country. In 73 of them, i.e. 27.8 percent. of inspected establishments found that fruit and vegetables were incorrectly labeled with the country of origin. In these stores, in some cases, irregularities reached over 20%. proven batches of products.
For misleading consumers as to the country of origin of vegetables and fruit sold in Biedronka stores, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection imposed on Jeronimo Martins Polska a penalty of over PLN 60 million (PLN 60,096,307). The decision is not final and the company may appeal to the court.
This is the third penalty given to Biedronka. Earlier, the chain was punished twice: in December 2020 with 723mln PLN and with August 2020 with 115mln pln.
The Biedronka chain of stores is the largest retail chain owned by the Portuguese company Jeronimo Martins. It serves over 25% of the entire food market and generated a profit of PLN 60 billion last year. It is the second largest company in Poland (after the oil concern Orlen - a state-owned company).

Source: UOKIK.pl/ Wyborcza.pl