Poland, brief agricultural news week 6, 2019

What happened in Poland last week? A brief overview of agricultural news.

Polish slaughter house uses sick cows for meat production, Polish beef sector affected

A beef scandal emerged in Poland after the airing of an undercover report on Polish TV. It showed a slaughterhouse illegally killing sick cows who were unable to stand during the night. The slaughterhouse was closed by the Polish Veterinary Inspection Service. The meat has been exported to 14 EU countries and has been destroyed after tracking. A police investigation concerning the illegal activities was started, also the EU Commission started an investigation on the Polish food safety situation. A report will be published within a month. Meanwhile, Polish beef prices have dropped and diverse countries have publicly questioned Polish food safety procedures.

Atypical BSE case found in Poland, BSE risk status remains negligible

An atypical case of BSE has been confirmed in Poland. Atypical BSE is a form of BSE that can occur spontaneously in older cows without a secondary source of infection. The case was found in the south-west of Poland, in lower Silesia. The cow has been culled and the case was reported. Poland’s BSE risk status has not been affected and remains in the category negligible risk. As a result of the BSE case, Belarus introduced temporary restrictions on imports into Belarus of Polish breeding, utilitarian and slaughtered cattle, and wild animals susceptible to this disease, intended for zoological and circus gardens.

Agri-uprising in Warsaw

AGROunia, an agricultural protest movement that has organized diverse protests in the past months, held a demonstration in Warsaw on Wednesday 6th of February, with participants arriving from all over the country. The protesters' main concern is the protection of the domestic agri-market from foreign operators in Poland. They also criticize the actions of the government in relation to ASF. When asked at a press conference on Wednesday, Minister Ardanowski emphasized that so far, it was not possible to establish a dialogue between parties.

Polish cancel import ban of pigs from Lithuania

Poland has officially cancelled a ban on the import of pigs reared in Lithuania. The ban was introduced by Poland in mid-December last year as a result of farmer protests and covered the so-called 'red zone' of African Swine Fever. The ban was questioned by Lithuania, stating that the decision breached EU rules and threatened to take the matter to the European Commission. The ban had been binding since mid-December 2018. Constructive dialogue between Poland and Lithuania in the presence of EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety helped to achieve an agreement on the return of the trade of pigs.

Poland sees first ASF outbreak of 2019 in domestic pig sector

For the first time in 2019, ASF was discovered at a pig farm in the north of Poland. The farm counted 69 pigs, among them 5 pigs who succumbed to ASF. All pigs were culled. It has been confirmed that wild boars were frequently seen around the farm, with some of these neighboring wild boars afterwards having been confirmed as carriers of ASF as well. From 2014, the amount of ASF outbreaks in domestic pigs in Poland now totals 214, next to over 3500 confirmed ASF cases in wild boars in Poland.


Acquisitions on Polish beverage market

The beginning of February was the moment of acquisitions on the beverage market in Poland: Hortex, a leading manufacturer of juices, nectars and drinks, announced the takeover of mineral water production of Jurajska from BEWA and few days later Ustronianka, the top mineral water manufacturer, announced the takeover of Hoop Polska, fizzy drinks, syrups, mineral water and functional drinks producer. Buying Jurajska will allow Hortex to enter mineral water segment while acquisition of Hoop Polska allows Ustronianka to increase competitiveness on the market, expansion into a new market segment, gaining a new production plant and well-known Polish brand.

The last acquisition means also leaving Polish beverage market by Czech company Kofola (stays active in Poland with Premium Rosa brand producing natural juices, syrups and preparations made of fruit and medicinal plants). 

Poles against shopping ban in Poland

According to the latest analysis of the Polish Parliament the majority of Poles is against the Sunday shopping ban in Poland. As from January 2019 Sunday opening of retail is further limited and allowed only on the last Sunday of the month. This means that- together with other holidays- big shops are open only on 15 Sundays a year. The idea behind the law was to support the small entrepreneurs who can sell on Sundays as they are owners of the business. In the practice however petrol stations are the biggest winners of the ban, with 13% selling increase. The selling in small shops decreased from 10,5 to 9%. The analysis shows that inhabitants of big cities are mainly against the ban (52%) and generally the higher the education the bigger opposition against any orders including the shopping ban. As from 2020 shops will be open only 7 Sundays in the year, which probably increase the negative reaction of the society even more.