President gives assurances of support for affected farmers

The Agricultural Federation’s long list of demands for assistance received assurances from President Andrzej Duda.

Poland has the second largest agricultural population percentage wise in Europe and is one of the largest exporters of several types of produce, including soft fruit and berries, as well as poultry.

While the country is not likely to face a domestic shortage and many farmers have said they are well prepared sanitation-wise for coronavirus, having faced hazards such as African swine fever (ASF) and bird flu, the sector is nonetheless concerned about the potential risks to farmers’ livelihoods due to the restrictions in place.

The letter to the government mentioned concern at the downturn in orders after the shutdown of restaurants and bars - large purchasers of meat. As such the Federation demanded the same right to deferment of their social security payments to the farmers KRUS system that was afforded to their city cousins, freed from ZUS contributions for three months.

Many production facilities are reeling from staffing difficulties. Dairies reported earlier this week that up to 20 percent of their staff had taken time off to care for school children.

President Andrzej Duda’s speech shortly after the Farmers’ press conference was quick to answer that demand, assuring that the same guarantee would be given to farmers with regard to social security and other measures protecting small businesses. The costs of staff staying home to look after children would be covered.

The other request that was made, which Mr Duda did not address, was that farmers suggest non exportable government reserve purchases are enacted in order to guarantee supplies, should production drop.