Organic Farming in Poland

Organic farming receives more and more attention recently in Poland in relation to the discussions on the new CAP post 2020. Further development of high quality and healthy food products is perceived as a chance for the Polish agri-food sector. Many discussions about the future of organic farming in Poland are being initiated by the sector itself. Higher demand of consumers for organic products and better distribution channels could boost the organic production in Poland.

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March 15, an organic farming conference has been organized in the Polish Senate. The Polish Agricultural Ministry presented preliminary data on organic sector. In 2018, there were 20,5 thousands of organic entities, in which around 900 processors and over 200 importers. The area covered with organic production is 500 000 ha. The year 2021 is expected to be a breakthrough for the organic farming sector, because Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council 2018/848 of 30 May 2018 concerning organic production and labeling of organic products will come into force. The most important changes include group certification for small producers, extending the validity of inspections to 24 months for small organic producers, changing regulations in relation to import of organic products from non-EU countries, introducing requirements for minimum measures to prevent pollution of organic farming, extending the scope of the Regulation on organic production, inter alia for sea salt and other types of salt used in food and feed, beeswax, wool, and leather. The Ministry of Agriculture is planning information campaign on new regulations for organic farmers as well as advisory centers and certification bodies. A new list of plant protection products for organic production was also prepared. The funding of research focusing on organic farming has also been maintained.

The latest report by the research agency IMAS International  on "Organic Food in Poland 2018" shows that the vast majority of Poles have an impression about BIO food, and 44% correctly recognize the green leaf being the EU organic food logo. The majority of consumers have spontaneous associations with bio products, half of which corresponds to the EU definition of BIO food. Most often, the eco-food is associated spontaneously with crops without artificial fertilizers and with the proper breeding of animals (30% in total), no artificial additives such as preservatives, aromas, dyes, antibiotics (24%).

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The report also shows that many consumers are looking for information on bio food, where the main source is the Internet (65%) and the opinions of friends or family (32%).

Many Poles extend the meaning of the word ‘ecologic’ also for traditionally and regionally produced food. The Polish association is not based on certification but on health and tradition.

Since a few years several Polish retail chains decided to introduce their own ecologic brands, so the eco products are easily accessible for the consumers. Therefore ca. 30% of Polish consumers buys ecological products but only 4% of Poles does it on the regular basis. The trend for eco food felt on a fertile ground in Poland: Polish people like to eat locally and try to eat seasonal vegetables and fruits which goes in line with the philosophy of the ecological way of life.

Recently, a new campaign to promote national food products, including organic has been launched by the Polish Ministry of Agriculture. The campaign keyword is: BUY CONSIOUSLY. The campaign aims at Poles to enhance to buy Polish food products,  and to inform about the official labeling like the EU organic food logo and logos for unique characteristics of products linked to their geographical origin as well as traditional know-how.

Previous article on organic sector in Poland can be found here.

Following the development of the organic sector Poland, the Polish Chamber for Organic Food was established recently by representatives of the Polish organic food industry. The Chamber promotes a healthy lifestyle and informs Polish society about organic food, the process of its production and how it differs from conventional food. It gives special emphasis on the labeling of certified food in order to raise awareness of Poles about the differences in the composition of products with a quality certificate, how it is controlled and what requirements must be met by a producer or farmer to obtain such a certificate.