Poland, brief agricultural news week 31, 2020
What happened in Poland last week? A brief overview of agricultural news.
Energy consumption in rural areas is increasing
In the decade 2008-2018, the growth rate of electricity consumption in rural areas significantly exceeded the increase in total consumption, it was also higher than the changes in consumption in cities - indicates the Polish Economic Institute (PIE).
PIE notes that the total energy consumption per capita in Poland has been increasing in recent years. In the decade since 2008, this increase amounted to 6.5%, but in the case of rural residents - 13.6%, and cities - 2.1%.
From 2008 to 2018, the average year-on-year increase in electricity consumption in rural households was 1.6%, and in cities 0.1%.
According to PIE, the dynamic growth of energy demand in rural areas represents a great potential for the development of distributed energy and renewable energy sources in the form of biomass, solar energy, small hydropower plants and wind turbines.
Rural areas provide opportunities for the creation of clusters in which generation, supply and demand balancing, and energy sales are carried out at the district level or at the maximum level of five communes. Such a solution can reduce energy costs for consumers by up to 20 percent - assesses the Institute.
Estimated harvest of Polish fruits
According to the Polish Statistical Office is expected to harvest more fruits from orchards and shrubs than in the last year. The harvest is estimated at ca. 4.2 million tons, which is about 6% more than the season before.
Although winter was mild, spring frosts occurring during flowering and prolonged drought in the late Spring limited the yield of trees and shrubs. Waves of unfavourable weather damaged flowers in many orchards, while the drought caused the buds to drop.
Nevertheless, the yield potential of Polish orchards, especially apple orchards, is still growing, which translates into about 5% higher yields than a year ago. Therefore, the harvest of apples is estimated at 3.3 million tonnes, exactly because of the new fertile varieties that are just entering the peak of fruiting.
This result is much higher than the demand in Poland. The domestic dessert apple market is able to absorb no more than half a million tons of apples. Export is calculated on about 1 million tons. The rest of the harvest must go to processing.
Pears and plums and other
The production of pears is estimated at about 69,000 tons, which is about 2% higher than last year. Plums for about 90,000 tons, about 5% less than last year.
Cherries have been estimated at 150,000 tons, which is a bit lower than last year, and cherries at about 42,000 tons, which is about 5% less than last year.
The harvest of other fruits such as peaches and apricots will be lower by about 4% and will total about 16,000 tons.
Source: GUS, Sadownictwo.com.pl
Poland plans to invest in biogas
The trend of abandoning production of electric power from fossil fuels seems irreversible. Switching the economy completely to renewable energy sources is a long and expensive process. This can't be achieved overnight. However, there is fuel which gives a chance to substantially reduce emissions and could constitute an important (and perhaps the only possible) stage on the path to zero-emission economy. This is gas. And Polish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development supports the investments in biogas.
Twenty farm-scale biogas plants based on innovative Polish technology, which will allow agricultural substrate management and their conversion into electricity and biomethane, will be built under a letter of intent signed by Polish state-own company ORLEN Poludnie from Poznan, western Poland, active in production of biofuels and biocomponents, Poznan University of Life Sciences and the National Support Centre for Agriculture (KOWR), which supervises Poland's largest farms where the biogas plants are to be built.
The implementation of new investments will improve the economic efficiency of farms belonging to KOWR, Minister of Agriculture Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski said at the signing ceremony. It will also serve to increase the competitiveness of Poland's agriculture and contribute to the achievement of climate goals, he added.
It is estimated that the potential of substrates from Polish agriculture will allow for the production of around 7 billion cubic metres of biogas, one third of the domestic demand, Deputy Minister of State Assets, Zbigniew Gryglas, noted.
The value of the programme is to reach at least PLN 0.5 bln (EUR 113 mln), and the return on investment is foreseen in four to five years.
Under the agreement, ORLEN Poludnie will serve the general contractor of the project, while Poznan University of Life Sciences will provide the innovative technology to be used in the construction of the biogas plants.