Nitrates bilateral table Poland

Organized together with the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, a 2 day bilateral meeting took place to share the Dutch experience on the implementation of the EU Nitrates Directive. The main theme of the bilateral table was the protection of waters against nitrates from agricultural sources.

Harm Smit giving presentation on nitrates in the Netherlands

On the first day, there was a plenary session in which the Polish and Dutch views and knowledge were exchanged and included a more technical discussion on exports, policy and its control and enforcement. The plenary session had participants from several Polish institutes, different Polish inspection agencies, ministries, experts, scientists and state agricultural advisors on water protection and fertilizer management and included a delegation from the Dutch ministry of Agriculture.

During the opening, Ambassador Daphne Bergsma emphasized the importance of this Directive that aims to protect the water quality against pollution from agricultural sources. “Also in the Netherlands, the implementation of the Nitrates Directive is seen in the framework of working towards a more sustainable agriculture, with an efficient use of nutrients. Primary goal of the implementation of the Directive is to improve the quality of ground and surface water. Essential for our supply of clean drinking water and for biodiversity. At the same time, many EU countries struggle with the implementation. (...) in this context I am very happy that this bilateral meeting is taking place and both our countries can exchange knowledge and experience.”. Grzegorz Witkowski emphasized the complex approach and the need to focus on good practices.

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On the second day of the event, the group visited a relatively large dairy farm with about 340 dairy cows in the Pomaski Wielkie area. Here, the farmer gave a presentation on technical solutions and good practices to reduce the nitrogen leakage into the ground water. Afterwards, a technical session was held that discussed the different monitoring systems in the Netherlands and Poland.

During these sessions, the two countries noticed common issues that both NL and PL finds as challenging: number of livestock units per hectare, buffers zones that protect waters against nitrates pollution from agriculture, fertilization management, process of consulting official documents, involvement of farmers into consultation process, and cooperation of policy and science. There was a lot of content discussion regarding the various aspects of the Directive implementation and questions on how things are being organized in the Netherlands.