Poland focuses on crisis relief for farmers following war in Ukraine – EURACTIV.com

Poland is preparing to adapt its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plan to put more emphasis on food security and crisis relief, while remaining committed to the Green Deal objectives. EURACTIV Poland reports.

As part of the recently submitted National Strategic Plans for CAP reform 2023-2027, EU Member States have detailed how they will meet the policy’s nine European objectives to meet the needs of farmers and rural communities.

The European Commission recently shared its feedback with Member States that submitted the first drafts of their national plans, including Poland. In his comments, the executive stressed the importance of prioritizing food security following the instability caused by Russia’s recent aggression against Ukraine.

Responding to the reactions, Polish Agriculture Minister Henryk Kowalczyk said he recognized that the “conditions” that initially shaped the Polish strategic plan have changed significantly.

As such, the plan needs to be reviewed and improved, he said.

Kowalczyk also welcomed many of the Commission’s other recommendations, such as increased emphasis on renewable energy sources and – in particular – the use of more natural fertilizers in agriculture, admitting that these measures were ” underestimated” before the war and the crisis that followed.

Emergency aid for Polish farmers

It is crisis aid, however, based on the Temporary Emergency Framework, that has taken center stage in Poland’s efforts in recent weeks.

On April 6, the Polish Department of Agriculture proposed to the Commission a support scheme to help farmers cover rising costs, driven mainly by rising fertilizer prices. For example, the price of ammonium nitrate – a popular fertilizer – increased by 130% on the Polish market.

The scheme is valued at 836 million euros. Farmers are entitled to 500 Polish złoty (about €107) for each hectare of agricultural land and 250 Polish złoty (€53.50) per hectare of meadow and pasture, up to 50 hectares.

This limit is designed to target the program to primarily help small and medium-sized farms, which have been at the center of Poland’s national strategic plan.

In the meantime, the Polish government has also introduced a temporary lifting of the ban on using fallow land to grow crops, as exceptionally authorized by the Commission for this year.

This measure, also authorized by the temporary emergency framework, will allow farmers in the country to use an additional 4 million hectares of land that was previously prohibited.

In addition to crops and animal feed, farmers will be allowed to use crop protection products in areas of ecological interest (EPZs), with the exception of land, used to produce honey.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Krzysztof Ciecióra has since pointed out that the derogation to allow production on AGEs should be extended for another year.

Always committed to the green cause

However, while some short-term goals have been overshadowed by the urgent need to increase food and energy security in the bloc, Poland remains committed to the Green Deal goals, according to Minister Kowalczyk.

Speaking at the TOGETAIR 2022 climate summit, he stressed that despite the importance of food production given the consequences of the war in Ukraine, climate protection remains an important factor in agricultural policy.

The minister added that more incentives for ecological farming will be introduced in the future and that ecological programs will see their funding increased.

[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]

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