The launch of a crisis reserve to maintain the profitability of the agricultural sector is one of the proposals that Polish Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski is to present during the videoconference of EU agriculture ministers due on Wednesday.
According to the minister, so far, the EU has not particularly helped in the crisis caused by the coronavirus epidemic, apart from the announcement of the flexible spending of funds already allocated under the cohesion policy. In the case of Poland this amounts to a sum of EUR 7.4 bn.
"I expect the European Commission to launch a crisis reserve, which amounts to EUR 450 mln (...) and to mobilise unused funds under the Common Agricultural Policy from the second pillar, i.e. from the Rural Development Programme," said Mr Ardanowski.
In his opinion, the unused part of the funds in question should be allocated to the maintenance of the agri-food sector's profitability, concerning both processing plants and farmers cooperating with these facilities.
Minister Ardanowski argued that as international trade with countries like Italy and China is breaking down, at this stage the EC should agree to the intervention buying of strategic products specific to a given member state - beef and dairy products in the case of Poland.
“There are already large reserves of these goods, and entrepreneurs are announcing a reduction in purchases. This affects the prices paid to farmers,” he noted.
Solutions proposed under the special law in Poland will provide another form of assistance. Certain benefits available for other entrepreneurs will apply to farmers as well. Currently, farmers can count on exemption from the Agricultural Social Insurance Fund (KRUS) quarterly contribution, and there will also be benefits for people looking after children according to the same rules as in the common system. Farmers can also count on help in the form of an extension when paying loans and tax.
The minister once again assured that there will be enough food in Poland, and that the processing industry is able to handle orders regardless of the current demand.