Poland: Impact of the war on Green Deal & agrifood sector

On May 9 at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, the Conference “Economic Sciences for Agribusiness and Rural Economy” took place. The event was held under patronage of the Embassies of the Netherlands, France and Germany. Keynote speaker for the Netherlands was mr Andre Hoogendijk (BO Akkerbouw). Topics included the Green Deal, sustainable production and the impact of the war on Ukraine on foodsecurity. On May 17, a webinar was broadcasted about the impact of the war on the agrifood sector in Poland. Its a joint event by the Netherlands Polish Chamber of Commerce (NPCC), BNP Paribas Polska and the Agricultural Office of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Warsaw.


Conference Green Deal

The conference was officially opened by rector WULS - Michał Zasada, who spoke about the big challenges that await not only Europe but also the whole world in the current situation. Mr Andre Hoogendijk, Director-General of BO Akkerbouw presented a lecture on “Implementation of Green Deal and a worldwide sustainable agriculture remain key for our food security in the long term” and together with the Dutch Agricultural Counselor Carolien Spaans, the French Agricultural Counsellor Marie-Christine le Gal and German Agricultural Counsellor Friedemann Kraft, he took part in the panel discussion.


Prof. Alan Matthews from Trinity College Dublin started the lecture sessions and pointed out that the Green Deal and the entire new EU agricultural policy will also affect countries outside the EU. In his opinion, the good side of the new EU policy will be the stimulation to improve standards and raise them for the countries importing to the EU. He also noted that the EU already has high production standards compared to the world, and many of the problems it faces are issues that affect humanity globally.

“Raising global sustainability standards is urgent and desirable, both in its own right but also to avoid leakage effects from raising EU sustainability standards” - Matthews concluded.

On the other hand, dr Jerzy Plewa (former director of DG Agri) pointed out that a good solution is that the Member States get more competences and responsibilities, but it must be realized that for many countries this “freedom” will be difficult, because the EU's goals are very ambitious. In his opinion biodiversity and Farm2Fork strategy are the key to achieving the main goals of Green Deal. Plewa points out that the situation of large farmers, those over 50 ha, will worsen the most in the new EU agricultural policy, and in his opinion they are key to the food security of Europe, as well as third countries.

According to Dr Pierre-Marie Aubert from French Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, targets of the Farm2Fork Strategy are ambitious, yet unavoidable to increase the resilience and sustainability of the EU food system. In his opinion “Lack of political support to the F2F are fuelled by inadequate market equilibrium modelling tools”. According to Aubert, the EU must understand that the geopolitical situation, the war on Ukraine is proof that it is necessary to be more self-sufficient. As an example, he cites high dependence on the purchase of fertilizers from Russia and gas, which is key in the production of fertilizers in the EU. Moreover, limiting the production of red meat and its consumption is also an important element of the change.

Keynote speech mr Hoogendijk

The last lecture on the first day of the conference was given by Andre Hoogendijk. He emphasized that it is important that when we think about the challenges facing European agriculture, we have to think about future generations, about the young. Education and awareness building are important as a basis for change:

"Use the power of European farmers to make changes. There is always a farmer who knows the solution!" – Hoogendijk concluded.

Moreover, in his view, goals such as less fertilizers, fewer plant protection products and less fossil fuels are essential steps, but attention must also be paid to reducing food waste and eating more plant proteins. Otherwise we’ll increase land use and outsource negative effects to countries outside the EU.

The whole conference, including the keynote speach of Mr Hoogendijk and the panel discussion can be watched back: V. Międzynarodowa Konferencja Naukowa: " Nauki ekonomiczne dla agrobiznesu i obszarów wiejskich" - YouTube

Panel discussion

The conference ended with a panel discussion titled ” The challenges of the European Green Deal under current shocks and future development needs”, attended, among others by Agricultural Counselors from the embassies of the Netherlands, France and Germany.

All the panellists agreed that the EU goals are ambitious but necessary to be achieved to provide for food security in the longterm and become less dependent on imports, including artificial fertilizers. It is important to promote a change in thinking about agriculture and the food system.

Carolien Spaans: "The war on Ukraine reminds us again how important our daily food is. My heart goes out to Ukraine and the farmers in Ukraine who keep on farming. Already 70% of the land is sown, which is an incredible achievement. The next difficult moment is July / August with both harvesting and trying to export while the harbors might still be blocked. It gives a lot of worry. We might have food security in the EU, but the concern is for the affordability of food for others in for example northern Africa. We need to act to increase that affordability but at the same time not loose sight of sustainability goals. We need to make sure for example that we do not rely on artificial fertilizers. And reduction of food waste is something we need anyway and maybe even speed up considering the disruptions due to the war on Ukraine.

Produce locally, where resources, raw materials, limit transport and simplify logistics "- good practices in the food industry, based on the example of his company, were briefly presented by Grzegorz Brodziak, CEO of Goodvalley Agro S.A. He added that climate change is not something that will go away, or that a vaccin can be invented for. We need to act in this.

On the other hand, Marie-Christine Le Gal from the French Embassy pointed out that it is also necessary to talk about how changes in the EU agri-policy affect third countries, because this should not be forgotten, especially nowadays.

Friedmann Kraft from the Embassy of Germany points out that the goals of the European Union are possible to achieve, but they will incur costs, we must remember this.

Andre Hoogendijk is of a similar opinion, who noted that although we will all bear the costs of these changes, the prices will be higher, and the current situation in the world does not make it any easier, it is worth taking this step. The discussion itself must be redirected from speaking about agricultural policy to a food policy, because then it will be easier to talk to ordinary people and consumers about the future.

On May 17, a webinar was organized by the Agricultural Office of the Embassy, together with the Netherlands Polish Chamber of Commerce (NPCC) and BNP Paribas about the impact of the war on the agrifood sector in Poland

Webinar: impact war on agrifood sector in Poland

On May 17, a webinar was broadcasted about the impact of the war on the agrifood sector in Poland. Experts from BNP Paribas and Maxigrain gave a presentation about the current situation both in Poland and Ukraine. The presentations can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

During the broadcast hosts Elro van den Burg (director NPCC) and Carolien Spaans (Agricultural Counsellor) talked to Trouw Nutrition Polska, the Polish National Poultry Council, Maxigrain and BNP Paribas about the developments on the market.

The broadcast is available online and can be watched here: Agricultural Knowledge Circle - What is the impact of the war in Ukraine on the agricultural markets - YouTube