Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
By handing you this Report, we would like to spark off a debate about the model of Polish agricultur in the future. Because it is agriculture, along with the food industry, that constitutes the key sector of our economy. A sector that has undergone an impressive transformation after Poland’s accession into the European Union, becoming a driver of exports. As estimated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the value of Polish food exports is rising steadily and will amount to at least EUR 25 billion at the end of 2015. We are a leading player in this domain and provide an example for the best possible use of agricultural aid.
Analysts indicate that Poland – a country surrounded by 200 million citizens – is in the best position of all states to become the European centre of food production and processing. In order to make a good use of the existing reserves, the authors of this report will suggest taking specific actions, necessary to achieve this goal and to build additional competitive advantages, both in Europe and on emerging markets. Indeed, our agriculture and processing industry still operate within the initial stages of the value chain, and our products are characterised by low added value per work unit. Boosting the sector’s productivity is therefore of key importance for increasing growth rate, especially since Poland will probably fail to avoid the effects of adverse demographic changes and the expected workforce shortage.
The authors of the report will also analyse the income standing and economic viability of agricultural production as well as the possibilities for financing agricultural entrepreneurs. It is because the funding of agricultural activities is among the crucial elements ensuring stable production and continued holding development. This, in turn, is a condition for providing citizens with food security, which is the chief function of agriculture.
Poland is already perceived as a country producing healthy and safe food. Polish food products enjoy a growing interest from foreign recipients, and their quality – as seen by the consumers – is the highest. This makes us the key trading partner for the European Union. And for others as well. Polish food is present on 73 other markets, including Africa, or Asia – in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, and Korea. It should also be noted that we are selling more and more food to the Middle East.
For this reason, the uninterrupted growth of Polish agri‑food exports and the positive balance of this trade should encourage entrepreneurs to intensify actions promoting the Polish brand. It is at this very moment – when we enjoy good and sizable exports – that we must start working on the image that will keep us safe in the future. Yet, we should be aware that this work will take years and could cost us hundreds of millions of złotys.
At the same time, we must remember that it is not the European Union or the CIS countries that constitute the most dynamically developing markets in the world. It is thus in the best interest of Polish economy that our companies deliver their agri‑food products to the faster developing regions, even though these markets are located far away. This is the true challenge of the future.