Thanks to GLOBALG.A.P. certification and the GLOBALG.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice (GRASP), a family business located in the northwest of Poland has not only been able to improve the quality of its product, but has also streamlined its operation to overcome language barriers and expand foreign trade opportunities.

The Borówka Wielkopolska plantation was founded in 1999 and currently comprises about 15 hectares, on which several varieties of American blueberries are grown on low peat. The blueberries are picked manually by workers and are cooled to 2 °C in sterile freezers within half an hour of being harvested.

GLOBALG.A.P. Certification Improves the Entire Production Chain

The family-run plantation originally applied for GLOBALG.A.P. certification to adhere to the norms required by major export markets. Initially, the mastering of the documentation and procedural requirements of certification took significant staff effort, but soon the implementation process became natural and showed its worth for monitoring progress and continuous improvements. By embracing the farm assurance standards, document management systems have improved resulting in the ability to rapidly retrieve key information for the farm.

GRASP Provides Noticeable Improvements

The farm was also one of the first plantations in Poland to undergo the GRASP assessment, which resulted in GRASP certification in 2016. Although some of the issues addressed for the GRASP assessment were intuitive, other aspects spurred improvements that improve the farm’s overall operational procedures. All the employees for picking on the plantation are from the Ukraine. These harvest crews are very hard-working and are able to learn Polish very quickly in order to facilitate working on the Polish plantation. An auditor pointed out that not all the instructions at the packing facility or in the fields were translated into Ukrainian. This meant that newcomers from the Ukraine might have difficulty becoming familiar with farm rules or safety regulations. The farm management made a new policy that all relevant instructions on the farm would be provided in Polish as well as Ukrainian.

Another positive effect triggered by GRASP was the appointing of an employee representative, who regularly provides feedback from the field in regard to how the workers are doing, any issues they may have, and what improvements can be made. In keeping with the nationality of the harvest crew employees, the representative is Ukrainian and able to communicate fluently in both Polish and Ukrainian. This has resulted in a noticeable improvement in problem-solving, an increase in inefficiency, and the introduction of new ideas to the benefit of the business as well as its employees.

 

With kind support from Sandra Stefaniak  

  

Borowka Wielkopolska Sp. z o.o., Poland: GGN  4052852603621

Sandra Stefaniak

+48 692 640 720

blueberries.poland@wp.pl

http://www.blueberries.poland.com/

 

Photocredits: Borowka Wielkopolska