Poland, brief agricultural news week 22, 2020

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

green grain field during a sunset
Beeld: ©A.Galica

Farmers are the most optimistic about their post-corona income

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we were all in a unique situation. This situation became the basis for research for the employees of the Institute of Rural Development and Agriculture of the Polish Academy of Science on the socio-economic situation of the population. In the first half of April, they conducted the first stage of the survey, in which they addressed Poles with a number of questions about the changes that occurred in their lives along with the pandemic.
The analysis of respondents' answers showed that the biggest fear about the workplace is felt by the inhabitants of medium-sized cities (from 20,000 to 100,000 inhabitants). As the authors of the study emphasize, this may be due to the belief that in a smaller city competition will be faster on the labor market than in the case of large cities, where there are definitely more jobs. The least afraid of losing employment are residents of cities over 500,000. residents as well as village residents. In the case of the rural population, the fear is less, because some people run their own farms, and the labor market itself is often local.
Work in agriculture determines the increased certainty of maintaining employment. This is due to the specifics of work in this industry and links to a farm for life. The pandemic did not stop agricultural production. Despite some difficulties in selling products, farmers have found other distribution channels, and production has not changed much. What is interesting, actually the opposite problem are reported in agriculture - the fear of running out of workforce. The pandemic caused some of the workers from Ukraine, Belarus or Asian countries to return to their countries. Moreover, there is another concern among farmers - a potential drop in income due to the drought. It is also worth emphasizing that among the bi-professionals (working outside agriculture and at the same time owning or using their own farm), there is a fear of losing a job outside agriculture. This group feels that it is the first line of people to be released.

Source: farmer.pl

Retail chain Biedronka, threatened with a fine, will sell only Polish fruit and vegetables

Recently, largest retail chain in Poland, Biedronka, for has been accused by farmers’ organisation of selling potatoes from Germany, while the product was signed as Polish. After numerous consumer interventions, Polish Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKIK) commissioned a series of inspections. At the end of last year, inspectors found mislabeled tags in 49 Biedronka stores. For this reason, 132 batches of fruit and vegetables (20.4%) were questioned out of 644 audited. In the case of products declared on tags as Polish mislabeling took place in 64 batches (9.9%).
In turn, in the first quarter of 2020, the inspectors found irregularities in 11 Biedronka stores. Objections were raised to 24 batches out of 168 audited in these stores (14.2%), of which in 19 batches (11.3%) the origin of fruit or vegetables was falsely declared as Polish.

Therefore, UOKIK is launching a procedure against Biedronka for mislabeling origin of fruits & vegetables which is misleading consumers as to the origin of the products. If the allegation is confirmed, then Jeronimo Martins Polska (owner of the retail chain) might face a penalty of up to 10% of annual turnover, i.e. EUR 1.26 billion, which in Polish currency rate gives PLN 5.7 billion!

Just before announcing the UOKIK proceedings the company issued a statement about important changes in sales. The network has announced that it will sell fruit and vegetables of exclusively Polish origin.

- As for potatoes and apples, there will no longer be such problems, as reported by various agricultural organizations, because only Polish products will be on our shelves - Marek Walencik, director of the fruit and vegetable category in Biedronka, said on the portal.

The changes will come into force in the autumn, as the new rules require changing the way products are stored.

Source: onet.pl, UOKIK, topargar.pl

Beeld: ©Murawska

Fruit Production Considered Unprofitable in Poland

Many orchardists report that their business activities are becoming unprofitable. The survey by association of fruit producers Unia Owocowa showed that only 8 percent of respondents believed that it was profitable to maintain the fruit production business, while 32 percent were undecided. According to Unia Owocowa, some of the biggest problems for the segment include low prices of fruits, growing labour costs and foreign embargoes. Moreover, orchardists fear climate change, plant disease or drought, as well as growing competition and a shortage of seasonal workers. At present, the segment faces that challenge of finding new export markets, however, the process of opening them is expensive and time-consuming, requires adaptation to the restrictions and specific quality requirements of a given country as well as different preferences for varieties. The level of organization into unions and associations among fruit and vegetable producers is at barely 20 percent in Poland.

Source: Economic Review

rapeseed field in bloom with a tree and a blue sky
Beeld: ©C.Spaans

Derogation for neonicotinoides in rape seed production

For the third time Polish Minister of Agriculture Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski signed a temporary permit for the use of mortar from the neonicotinoid group in the cultivation of rapeseed. This time it is one product - Cruiser OSR 322 FS. Thus, in 2020 three mortars will be available in total for sowing in Poland, but only Cruiser belongs to the group of neonicotinoids (contains thiamethoxane).

The mortar can be used in the period from June 1, 2020 to September 28, 2020 in a total area of 250,000 ha.

The use of neonicotinoids has been banned since December 2013. And the derogation for neonicotinoid mortars in rapeseed was first signed by Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski in 2018.

Source: Farmer.pl, Agropolska.pl

wooden plate with dairy products
Beeld: ©@AgaMurawska

Possible unfair market practice of dairy producer Mlekovita

Dairy producer Mlekovita has been summoned by the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKIK) to remove all advertising material suggesting that their products protect against the Corona virus. If it doesn’t do so, it exposes itself to proceedings of UOKIK on the accusation of unfair market practice. According to the president of UOKIK, the advertising message that uses the fear of consumers for Corona by presenting a product as a protection against it, is highly unethical since there is no evidence that the product reduces the risk of infection.

Source: UOKIK