Food exporters have reason to be happy

Luc Williams

The export value of the above-mentioned goods has increased by EUR 20 billion (over 60%) in the last 5 years, and has increased by over 135% in 10 years. In 2023 alone, exports of agri-food products amounted to EUR 51.8 billion and were 8.1% higher compared to 2022. The increase in domestic exports of these products in 2023 was influenced, among others, by: lower costs of transport, energy and fuel. Moreover, according to experts from KOWR, exports were still supported by competitive prices and quality of products sold, especially on the EU market and the continuing demand for Polish products. Sales to markets outside the EU also increased. It is worth mentioning that the value of imports of agri-food goods in 2023 amounted to EUR 33.2 billion (annual increase by 3.0%), which means that the positive balance amounted to EUR 18.6 billion and was higher than in 2022 . by 19 percent

Polish foreign trade in agri-food products (EUR billion) /

However, the increase in exports of these goods in 2023 was not as impressive as that recorded in 2022. At that time, the value of agri-food goods sold abroad amounted to EUR 47.6 billion and, compared to the results in 2022, was 26.7% higher . The reasons for such a sudden increase were, among others, rising global prices of agricultural and food products due to the war in Ukraine. In addition, there was also the depreciation of the Polish zloty against the euro, which supported price competition of Polish products, especially since – as KOWR experts estimated – over 80 percent revenues from exports to the EU came from sales to euro area countries. One more factor had a significant impact. In the first half of 2022, the HoReCa industry began to increase in activity in the EU, which, coupled with rising food prices, resulted in an increase in demand for “competitive in price and quality food from Poland”.

Geographic structure of Polish agri-food exports in 2023 /

Main recipients of Polish agri-food products

At the same time, experts emphasize that the liberalization of trade with Ukraine introduced at the end of May 2022 was a challenge for Polish exports in 2023. This resulted in a greater supply of price-competitive Ukrainian agri-food products on the EU market. And Polish producers export their food products primarily to the EU. The value of deliveries to these countries reached EUR 38 billion in 2023, and over the last five years, the value of exports of agri-food products to local markets exceeded EUR 153 billion, with the total level of exports of these products exceeding EUR 203 billion. The share of EU markets in the above-mentioned exports exceeds 70% every year. Germany remains Poland's main trading partner and the largest recipient of the described goods. In 2023, food exports from Poland – as the data show – were immune to Germany's poor economic performance. In 2023, we sent food goods worth more than EUR 13 billion to this market, and over the last 5 years this value amounted to more than EUR 50 billion. The next place is taken by Great Britain, with the amount of Polish food exports in 2023 amounting to EUR 4.2 billion (almost EUR 17 billion over 5 years). Next are the Netherlands (EUR 3.2 billion and EUR 12.4 billion respectively); France (EUR 3.0 billion and EUR 11.5 billion) and Italy (EUR 2.5 billion and over EUR 10 billion).

Meat comes first

The products with the largest share in the export structure have for years included meat and meat products. They constitute approximately 20 percent. total foreign sales of agri-food goods (in 2023 it was 19%; in 2022 – 20%; in 2021 – 19%; in 2020 – 19% and in 2019 – 21 percent). Poultry dominates this category, with its share exceeding 40% in recent years. Its main recipient is Germany, followed by the Netherlands and the UK. Britain and France. When it comes to pork, Germany is also the main trading partner, followed by the Czech Republic, then Slovakia and the UK. Britain and Romania. Beef is sold primarily to the Italian market.

The second place in the export of agri-food products is taken by cereals (grains and processed products). In 2023, their share in the export of these items was 15%. (which means an increase of 15% compared to the result from 2022), a year earlier it was 14%; in 2021 – 13 percent; in 2020 – 14 percent; and in 2019 – 12 percent. In the case of these goods, as with meat exports, the main recipients are EU countries and this has been the case since Poland joined the EU. This includes, among others: about Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and France, and from outside the member states about the UK. Great Britain and last year Nigeria and South Africa. Throughout 2023, 13.6 million tons of cereal grains were exported from Poland for EUR 3.5 billion.

This is a good result compared to exports

Food is the category of Polish exports that maintains high growth in Polish foreign trade. While – as reported by the Central Statistical Office – foreign trade turnover in goods increased (in euro) by 1.4% last year. and amounted to EUR 351 billion in the period January-December 2023, the increase in the value of exports of the mentioned agri-food products amounted to 8.1% on an annual basis. The Central Statistical Office also informed that in the described period in trade in goods – compared to a similar period in 2022 (according to the nomenclature of the standard international trade classification, i.e. SITC – standard international trade classification), among others. food and live animals accounted for 11.9% of the structure of Polish exports.

Financial Observer – open license /


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