August 2nd. 2018
A new employers’ union hass formed – the Union of Agricultural Entrepreneurs. On August 1st this year in Biała Podlaska, several dozen large Polish agricultural entrepreneurs met and elected their Organisational Committee comprising of 12 members. The Committee will deal with the Union’s registration. During the meeting, apart from organisational issues, legal problems in the field of development of agricultural enterprises and agricultural production, issues of international competition and changes taking place in the Polish countryside were discussed.
This is a fragment of a speech by Cezary Kaźmierczak, the President of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers at the founders’ meeting:
“There are great challenges ahead of Polish agriculture. We are dealing with a series of events and processes for which we must prepare to adequately respond. The most important challenges facing Polish agriculture are problems with farm succession and growing competition from Ukraine. We are just at the threshold of these two phenomena. They will intensify and unless we react properly, they will threaten Polish agriculture.
Poland owes a lot to small family farms. During the communist period, these were oases of tradition, work culture, entrepreneurship and common sense. To a large extent thanks to those values that survived in the countryside, it was possible for Polish entrepreneurship to explode after the collapse of communism. The time of these farms as a model of farming is slowly passing. Both due to lack of succession and powerful competition.
This competition comes mainly from Ukraine, where giant agricultural enterprises (“agrozavods”) are created, covering up to tens of thousands of hectares, based on oligarchic money, western technologies, cheap labour and excellent soil. Small Polish farms are not and will not be able to compete with the Ukrainian “agrozavods”.
I remind you that the way of Ukrainian agricultural products to the European Union is open.
However, we have not yet lost. We only need to create competitive Polish “agrozavods”, that is Polish agricultural enterprises, as a response to Ukrainian ”agrozavods”. We have many competitive advantages, including broader experience, greater work culture, a better understanding of sales markets, we are more entrepreneurial. All that is needed is a political decision to change the model of Polish agriculture – we must leave the preference for small family farms that are in decline and invest in Polish agricultural entrepreneurs.
To achieve this, we need a whole system of support, from a favourable legal system for a new order in the countryside, to loans guaranteed by the government for the development of agricultural enterprises.
The second area where we can compete is unprocessed and processed high-quality and highest-quality food. We have a decisive advantage here and we should take action to strengthen it.
I repeat – without strong support for the production of high-quality food or without a systemic support for shaping a new order in the countryside, based on efficient, private agricultural enterprises – Polish agriculture may not survive.” – in these words, Cezary Kaźmierczak ended his speech.