Agriculture occupies a prominent place in the European Green Deal (EGD) proposed by the European Commission (EC). The plan of key changes is defined by the From Field to Table Strategy, which is to ensure a more sustainable supply chain, and the Biodiversity Strategy. Changes awaiting agriculture in the European Union. and above all in Poland, were made the focus of experts at a debate held during the 30th Economic Forum in Karpacz “A Path from Field to Table Through Value Network”. The panelists agreed that a properly planned and implemented transformation is a chance for development for the Polish agriculture.

One of the assumptions of the From Field to Table Strategy is a 50% reduction by 2030 of the use of agricultural pesticides and antibiotics in animal farming. Maciej Golubiewski, Head of Cabinet of Commissioner for Agriculture, pointed out that EU countries embark on the journey towards these goals from different positions, thus their paths differ as well. “Poland embarks from lower positions. It ranked 17th in the use of pesticides. As regards emissions per hectare, however, we have approx. 2 tonnes per hectare, while a EU average is 2.5 tonnes per hectare. For example in Denmark it is 7 tonnes per hectare and in Holland 10 tonnes per hectare. Thus, our starting position is good”, says Maciej Golubiewski.

He stated that the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) provides for a number of tools to achieve the EU goals, which is an opportunity for farmers to develop their activities. “These are mainly funds. Statistically, it is EUR 10 thousand per hectare, EUR 100 thousand per farm. The purpose is to encourage farmers to use certain techniques or methods of operation in a more sustainable manner. These can be for example investments in precision agriculture or practices aimed at reducing methane emissions”, enumerated Maciej Golubiewski. He also added that Poland, similarly as other countries, will present action schemes adapted to its local conditions. An additional purpose of such actions is improved competitiveness of Polish manufacturers.

Adam Pieńkowski, Managing Director of McDonald’s Polska, presented a business perspective on cooperation with Polish manufacturers. He also identified three areas of challenges. “The first one, relating to the scale of operation, includes systemic approach to fragmented agriculture. We cooperate with several dozen thousands of farmers, each of them must meet relevant quality and environmental standards. The second area concerns stability and transparency of regulations for business, as it allows to build long-term policy in cooperation with the suppliers. This opens up possibilities of investing in farms, improving the quality and competitiveness of their products, and in consequence a greater promotion potential. The third area is partnership – by being close to our partners, supporting their development, we are becoming part of this business. We can promote our partners on other markets”.

Jerzy Wierzbicki, President of the Polish Beef Association, added that McDonald’s is a key recipient of Polish beef, which allows it to create production standards and improve farm competitiveness. “In a few years, McDonald’s is planning to rely on sustainable beef. Involvement of such a large player is a huge chance for Polish farmers. Currently approx. 30 percent of carcasses are delivered to the chain restaurants, while the other 70 percent remains on the market, allowing to build a marketing strategy and competitiveness of the Polish meat sector”, he added.

Everybody benefits from this approach: consumers, who get high quality products from sustainable agriculture; business, which is given a guarantee of repeatability and a possibility of sustainable development; and the Polish agricultural and food sector – farmers as well as small and medium-sized companies, which are offered a chance to increase their profitability and develop.

Another participant of the discussion moderated by Małgorzata Bojańczyk of the Association of Sustainable Agriculture in Poland was Marek Lipka, merchandising and supply chain director at Carrefour Polska, who presented actions taken by the chain in connection with investments in creating a more sustainable supply chain.

Account’s partner: McDonald’s