In the period from January to May 2022, the sales value of agri-food goods abroad reached € 17.9 billion (PLN 82 billion), 21.9% higher than in the comparable period a year earlier.
The increase in revenue generated from foreign sales in the period from January to May 2022, as well as the higher growth rate in 2021, confirm that domestic agri-food entrepreneurs are doing well in the international market. The export of agri-food products makes it possible to manage the surplus of food produced in Poland, which is an important source of revenue for the Polish agri-food industry and indirectly affects the economy of the country as a whole.
Polish foreign trade in agri-food products
The increase in the value of exports was largely contributed to by the favorable exchange rate of the zloty against euro, which favored the price competitiveness of Polish agri-food products on the international market. The good results obtained in the export of agri-food goods testify to the growing activity of domestic entrepreneurs to diversify business relations in third-country markets and the high quality of the products offered. Thanks to the adaptation of the assortment offer by our domestic entrepreneurs to the diverse preferences of foreign consumers, the demand for Polish products on the international market is maintained. In addition, the relatively small, nearly 4% share of CIS countries in food export revenues has limited the negative impact of the armed conflict in Ukraine on total agri-food export performance.
The revenue generated from foreign sales by domestic exporters was also affected by high food prices on the world market, due to global inflationary factors, among other factors. This situation was reflected in the rising value of FAO’s monthly food price index. In the period from January to May 2022, the average value of the index increased from 135.6 points in January 2022 to 157.9 points in May 2022, i.e. by 22.3 points. In particular, the prices of vegetable oils (up by 43.3 points), as well as cereals (32.9 points) and dairy products (11.2 points) showed significant growth dynamics.
Poland’s agri-food exports on a monthly basis
At the same time, imports of agri-food products amounted to EUR 12.5 billion (PLN 57 billion), 27.7% higher than a year ago. The positive balance of trade stood at EUR 5.3 billion (PLN 25 billion), 10.2% higher than in the period from January to May 2021.
As in previous years, agri-food products were exported from Poland primarily to the European Union market. In the period from January to May 2022, deliveries to the EU-27 generated more than EUR 13.3 billion (a 27% increase), which accounted for 75% of the revenue generated from total agri-food exports.
The main products sold to EU countries were: poultry meat (EUR 1.2 billion), cigarettes (EUR 1.1 billion), dairy products (EUR 0.9 billion), beef (EUR 0.7 billion), bread and bakery products as well as animal feed (EUR 0.6 billion each), and chocolate products (EUR 0.5 billion).
Polish agri-food exports to the EU market are characterized by significant geographic concentration. Germany remained Poland’s main trading partner. Exports to this country in January-May 2022 amounted to EUR 4.5 billion and were 26% higher than a year ago. Important recipients of Polish agri-food products were also: The Netherlands (EUR 1.2 billion, up 39%), France (EUR 1.1 billion, up 28%), Italy (EUR 874 million, up 9%) and the Czech Republic (EUR 805 million, up 31%). In total, exports to the markets of the aforementioned five countries generated EUR 8.5 billion, which accounted for about 64% of the value of exports to the EU-27.
Agri-food products worth more than EUR 4.5 billion were exported from Poland to non-EU countries in the period from January to May 2022, 8% more than in the first five months of 2021.
Exports to non-EU (non-CIS) countries increased by 12%, to €3.8 billion. The main exports from Poland to non-EU (non-CIS) countries were dairy products (EUR 343 million), poultry meat (EUR 340 million), cigarettes (EUR 235 million), chocolate products (EUR 233 million), bread and bakery products (EUR 215 million) and meat products (EUR 207 million).
Significant buyers of domestic agri-food products, as in previous years, were primarily: Great Britain (revenues of €1.5 billion, up 33%), the United States (€295 million, up 27%) and Saudi Arabia (€177 million, down 41%), followed by: Israel (€155 million, up 45%), Norway (€114 million, up 16%), and Algeria (€103 million, down 52%).
In the period from January to May 2022, exports to CIS countries stood at EUR 694 million, 7% lower than in the comparable period a year earlier. Poland’s exports to CIS countries were mainly bread and bakery products (EUR 44 million), fresh apples and pears (EUR 41 million), chocolate products as well as cheese and cottage cheese (EUR 36 million each), animal feed (EUR 35 million) and coffee (EUR 25 million).
Commodity structure of Poland’s agri-food exports
The commodity structure of Polish exports of agri-food products was dominated by meat and meat products. In January-May 2022, revenues generated from foreign sales within this commodity group were 37% higher than a year earlier and amounted to EUR 3.7 billion, accounting for 20% of the value of all Polish agri-food exports. Poultry meat (43% - EUR 1.6 billion), beef (23% – EUR 842 million) meat preparations (23% – EUR 834 million) and pork (9% – EUR 317 million) accounted for the largest share of the export value. Exports of live animals and other meat species were relatively small and each accounted for about 1% of Poland’s meat product export revenue.
The second position in terms of value, with a 13% share of Poland’s agri-food exports, was occupied by cereal grains and processed goods. Their total sales, compared to January-May 2021, increased by 20%, to EUR 2.3 billion.
In the commodity group analyzed, export revenue from cereal grains amounted to nearly EUR 1.0 billion. In the structure of the export volume of 3 million tons of grain, corn accounted for 54% (1.6 million tons), wheat 29% (885,000 tons), and rye and barley 6% each (135,000 tons and 121,000 tons, respectively).
Domestic exporters sent grain primarily to the EU market (2.4 million tons, 79% of exported grain). In January-May 2022, corn grain was exported mainly to Germany (853 thousand tons, 53% of grain exports), the Netherlands (215 thousand tons, 13%) and the UK (133 thousand tons, 8%).
Wheat was mainly exported to Germany (384 thousand tons, 43% of the exports of this grain), Nigeria (99 thousand tons, 11%) and South Africa (93 thousand tons, 11%). The main direction of rye exports from Poland was Germany (123 thousand tons, 91% of the exports of this grain), and barley – Germany (56 thousand tons, 46% of exports of this grain) and Algeria (31 thousand tons, 25%).
Increases in the value of exports were recorded for tobacco and tobacco products (up 2%, to €1.7 billion), dairy products (up 39%, to €1.5 billion), sugar and confectionery (up 17%, to €1.2 billion), as well as vegetables and processed foods (up 15%, to €0.8 billion) and fruits including preserves (up 12%, to €0.7 billion). There was also a higher value of exports of, among others: oilseeds and vegetable fats, up 83% (€0.5 billion); coffee, tea and cocoa, up 16% (€0.4 billion); alcohol, up 18% (€0.3 billion); and fruit and vegetable juices, up 35% (€0.3 billion). In contrast, receipts from foreign sales of fish and processed foods decreased (by 2%, to EUR 1.0 billion).
Prepared in the Office of Analysis and Strategy at the National Center for Agricultural Support.