Polish foreign trade in agri-food

Thursday, 13 October, 2022 Food From Poland 39/2022
In 2021, we observed a continued upward trend in the export of Agri-food products from Poland; since 2004 its value has increased more than seven fold. In 2021, the export of Agri-food products reached a record level of EUR 37.4 billion, i.e. it was 9% higher than a year earlier.
The increase in exports was a result of continued demand for Polish products, which, despite rising prices in the second half of 2021, were competitive on the international market. Exports of Polish Agri-food products were supported by the zloty exchange rate against the euro, which was favourable for domestic businesses, and also by the progressive diversification of export directions. Also the growing economic activity of Polish entrepreneurs, the proper preparation of domestic companies to operate in the pandemic conditions, and adjustment of the assortment offer to suit foreign consumers with diverse preferences resulted in very good export figures.

The results of foreign sales achieved by domestic exporters in 2021 were also influenced by high food prices on the world market reflected in the growing value of the FAO monthly food price index. In 2021, the average index value increased from 113.5 points in January 2021 to 134.1 points in December 2021, i.e. an increase by 20.6 percentage points. The prices of vegetable oils (rose by 39.6 pp), sugar (by 22.3 pp), dairy products (by 17.7 pp), meat products (by 16.4 pp) and cereals (by 15.5 pp).

At the same time, the value of imports of Agri-food products amounted to EUR 24.7 billion and it was 8.6% higher than in the previous year. The positive trade balance increased by 9.7% compared to 2020, reaching EUR 12.7 billion (of which EUR 7.7 billion in trade with the EU-27 countries and EUR 5.0 billion with non-EU countries).

Geographical structure of Polish exports of Agri-food products

In 2021, Polish Agri-food products were delivered to customers in 198 countries on all continents. A big diversification of export directions made it possible to compensate for the decline in the value of exports to Great Britain, after the UK left the EU customs union.

Export to the European Union countries

As in previous years, Agri-food products were exported from Poland mainly to the EU market. In 2021, deliveries to the EU-27 countries generated EUR 27.1 billion (an increase of 11%), which accounted for 73% of revenues attained from the total export of Agri-food products.

Polish Agri-food exports to the EU market were characterized by a significant geographical concentration. Germany remained Poland’s main trading partner. Exports to this country in 2021 amounted to EUR 9.4 billion and was 9% higher than in the previous year (exports mainly of cigarettes, fish products, poultry meat, bakery products, animal feed and chocolate products). Significant  importers of Polish Agri-food products included also: the Netherlands (EUR 2.2 billion, increase by 16%; exports mainly of poultry meat, cigarettes, corn grains, fruit and vegetable juices, chocolate products and beef), France (EUR 2.1 billion, increase by 16%; exports mainly of poultry meat, meat products, chocolate products, animal feed, bakery products and beef), Italy (EUR 1.9 billion, an increase by 10%; exports of cigarettes, beef, fish products and animal feed which accounted for nearly 50% of the export value) and the Czech Republic (EUR 1.6 billion, an increase by 5%; exports mainly of poultry meat, bakery products as well as cheese and cottage cheese). In total, exports to the markets of the five above mentioned countries generated a revenue of nearly EUR 17.3 billion, which accounted for approximately 64% of the export value to the EU-27.

Export to non-EU countries

In 2021, Agri-food products with a total value of EUR 10.3 billion were exported from Poland to non-EU countries, 3% more than in the previous year.

• Non-EU countries (excluding the CIS)

In 2021, exports to non-EU countries (excluding the CIS countries) increased by 2%, to EUR 8.4 billion. Outside the European Union, the United Kingdom maintained the position of the largest importer of Polish Agri-food products (with revenues of EUR 3.0 billion, a decrease by 4%; exports mainly of meat products, poultry meat and chocolate and bakery products). Taking into account the changes in market conditions after the coming into force of the trade and cooperation agreement between the European Union and Great Britain, a relatively small decrease in export revenues should be considered as confirmation that trade contacts have been maintained by domestic entrepreneurs. The factor supporting the competitiveness of Polish Agri-food products exported to the British market was a strong appreciation of the pound sterling against the domestic currency.

Significant importers of domestic Agri-food products, as in previous years, were also: The United States (EUR 612 million, increase by 14%; exports mainly of chocolate products, pork, fish products, alcohol and processed meats), Saudi Arabia (revenues of EUR 510 million, decrease by 26%; exports mainly of cigarettes and wheat) and Algeria (EUR 418 million, an increase by 66%; exports mainly of wheat grains – 55% of the export value, concentrated and powdered milk – 25%, and tobacco – 16%), followed by: Israel (EUR 293 million, increase by 19%; exports mainly of beef and sugar), Norway (EUR 270 million, increase by 15%; exports mainly of cigarettes, fruit preserves, animal feed and wheat), China ( EUR 190 million, decrease by 7%; exports mainly of liquid milk as well as cream and whey – in total 57% of the export value) and Switzerland (EUR 188 million, increase by 10%; exports mainly of alcohol, animal feed, water and bakery products).

Commonwealth of Independent States countries (CIS)

In 2021, exports to the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States amounted to EUR 1.9 billion, and it was 10% higher than in the previous year. Among the CIS countries, the highest value was achieved by exports to Ukraine - EUR 811 million (increase by 7%; exports mainly of cheese and cottage cheese, animal feed, chocolate products, coffee and bakery products), then to the Russian Federation - EUR 676 million (increase by 19%; exports mainly of bakery and chocolate products and vegetable preserves) and to Belarus - EUR 249 million (decrease by 1%; exports mainly of fresh apples and pears, seedlings and cut flowers, fruit and vegetable preserves).

Commodity structure of the export of Polish Agri-food products

In 2021, the following goods dominated in the commodity structure of revenues obtained from the export of Agri-food products: meat, meat  products and livestock, cereal grains and products, tobacco and tobacco products, sugar and confectionery, dairy products, as well as fish and fish products. The export of the above mentioned groups of goods generated a total of 63% of the revenue obtained from all exports of Agri-food products from Poland.

Share of Agri-food exports in Polish total exports

In 2021, there was a decrease in the share of revenue generated from the export of Agri-food products in Polish total exports, which amounted to 13.1% compared to 14.3% in 2020.

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