Food security of Poland

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Poland is relatively safe from the threat of losing food security. However, the situation could be improved further thanks to various measures. Most of them are connected with judicious agricultural policy.

Food that is safe and available

Food security in a given country refers to the availability of food for each inhabitant, even the poorest one. The food available needs to cover the demand for calories, but it also should be healthy, safe, uncontaminated and rich in nutrients which are indispensable for the proper functioning of the body. 2 million people in Poland are undernourished, or deprived of access to the kind of food described above.

Dragging behind European leaders

In its 2014 ranking, the Global Food Security Index, which measures the food security situation in 109 countries, awarded Poland the 26th position. This result is far from alarming, but it puts the vast majority of European Union countries (exceptions include Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia) and some Asian states ahead of us. The ranking takes into consideration a number of important parameters: the share of expenditure on food in the domestic budgets, the mechanisms for controlling food quality and safety, or even the quality of protein in national foodstuffs. In the case of Poland, the authors of the ranking were critical of the modest expenditure on R&D in Polish agriculture.

Self-sufficient means safe

Self-sufficiency in food provision constitutes an important factor in a country’s food security. The definition of self-sufficiency is the ability of the national economy to cover the domestic demand for food from each particular group. In Poland, this indicator falls below 100% in a few cases only: fats and vegetable oils, (71,9%), fruit (84,5%) and grain legumes (95%). The parameter is worrying in the case of the production of fish (45,1%). However, we need to keep in mind that achieving full self-sufficiency is all but impossible.

Wise agricultural policy at the core

Providing food security depends on a series of factors – economic and social policy, geopolitical situation and natural resources. Another crucial matter is the state of the national agriculture, which influences the production levels, pricing, food quality, and the structure of goods produced. If the policy concerning agricultural sector is conducted properly, food security may be improved gradually and systematically. As a result, it is possible to increase output efficiency and the level of technology used in farming, to improve the quality of agricultural and grocery products, and stimulate production using direct tax reliefs and subsidies for farms.

You can read more about the topic in “25 years of Polish agriculture. Food security in Europe” Report.