Ambitious plans of Commissioner Phil Hogan

| Foreign Markets |

Reduction of bureaucratic procedures is one of the chief tasks for the European Union in the next few years’ time. Farmers, who benefit from the Common Agricultural Policy, are among those who feel the negative consequences of the excessive size of EU administration. The new Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has therefore promised changes for the better and the improvement of efficiency of the work of EU staff.

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10 years of Polish agriculture in EU

| Production & Resources |

The celebrations of the 10th anniversary of Poland joining the European Union provide a good opportunity to sum up various processes, including the changes which have taken place in the Polish countryside during this time. Despite fears expressed before the accession, the majority of agricultural manufacturers appreciate our presence in the structures of united Europe.

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Domestic chemical companies adjust to changes in the countryside

| Polish Market |

The mosaic of Polish agriculture poses a challenge for those wishing to suit the needs of lesser farms as well as huge agricultural enterprises. Such client base requires full involvement. Particular regions of Poland very greatly with regard to the quantity of fertilizers consumed, and even when it comes to farming methods. While precision farming is already booming in Opolskie voivodeship, the traditional approach to farming practice remains dominant in Podkarpackie voivodeship.

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End of stalemate in EU agricultural policy reform

| Foreign Markets |

At the end of September, a long-awaited compromise concerning Common Agricultural Policy was reached. The key EU institutions approved the draft put forward by the ministers of agriculture of the Member Countries. Consequently, EU will be able to undertake such tasks as boosting employment rate in rural areas, improving environmental protection and ensuring food supply safety.

More for the smaller

The new CAP policy involves raising (to 85%) the direct subsidies for farmers from the least developed regions of EU. The necessary funds will be generated by decreasing the subsidies paid to the largest agricultural producers. Those who have been given over 150,000 EUR per year will now receive 5% less. Also, equal opportunities policy means that as of 2019, farmers in every EU country will be getting subsidies worth no less than 75% of the EU subsidy average.

For the young and the environment

Moreover, the compromise has freed up resources for encouraging the young to work in agriculture. Numerous EU countries witness mass migration of the youth from the countryside to the cities. The trend has resulted in decreased agricultural production capacity. Thus, when it comes to supporting young farmers, in 2014-18 EU is planning to allocate 25% more money to this project than today. Additionally, in 2014-20 c. 100 billion EUR will be spent on promoting organic and environmentally-friendly farming.

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Changes in French agriculture

| Foreign Markets |

French President François Hollande is making over the agricultural policy of the French government and is keen on directing the bulk of subsidies to smaller farms. A number of groups, in particular the big agricultural producers, are opposed to the reform, though.

Big ones can do more

A major part of Common Agricultural Policy resources for the development of French farming has been reaching farms with the largest acreage. The number of farms in France has been falling since the 1950′, from 2.3 million in 1955 to fewer than 500,000 at the beginning of 2013. Among the factors such transformation results from is the growth of the number of big operators in agricultural business. By increasing the acreage of farmland, they have placed France in the top five of biggest producers of cereals in the world.

Changes in French agriculture/fot. photopin.comFertilizers do their job

Declarations concerning a reshuffle of agricultural subsidies policy were met with disapproval of many groups, including the largest French Association of Agricultural Producers – FNSEA. This is far from surprising, seeing that large enterprises constitute the driving force of French farming. The nation’s supremacy in Europe is clear with France having the largest acreage of cultivated land in European Union countries (over 15 million hectares), and the highest consumption of nitrogen fertilizers in EU (at 22%). The industry consumes 2.1 million tonnes of pure nitrogen per year, which makes French farming much more efficient.

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Agriculture and food safety

| CSR |

The world population is growing, area of arable land is diminishing and resources of fresh water are depleting. Consequently, a comprehensive approach to food safety is required. It comprises three components: access to food, availability of food and nutritional value of consumed food.

Common Agricultural Policy

EU countries, which follow Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), have the opportunity to make the standards of agricultural policy and distribution of produced food uniform. This guarantees high quality of edibles. To this end, Common Agricultural Policy ought to put even more stress on improving the efficiency of EU farms, alongside with further improvements in environment protection standards.

New possibilities

If emphasis is put on efficiency, EU may secure self-sufficiency with regard to food supply and may make agriculture more competitive. Both issues are important because they mean a reliable source of income for food manufacturers and lower demand for direct subsidies. Yet another benefit is the use of biomass for the production of energy, which will help to limit the import from outside EU.

Education first

With a view to fulfill the requirements of efficient agriculture, we need to make use of scientific and industrial novelties in everyday work. Professional consultants should be responsible for teaching about latest farming methods and practices. In Poland we have not had a sufficient number of people with adequate education, able to assist farmers in implementing latest solutions. Azoty Group “PUŁAWY” is a forerunner of agricultural counseling activity. Using Competences Center, which was established in 2011 and constitutes a platform of exchanging information between fertilizer manufacturers, research institutes and agricultural entrepreneurs, the company is stimulating change in Polish farming. One tool is the newly-launched postgraduate course in agricultural counseling. Only thanks to activities based on knowledge, European agriculture may become competitive on the global markets and also self-sufficient.

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Will CAP help British farmers?

| Foreign Markets |

The financial crisis has been felt not only in the banking services sector, which makes the first page the most often. Since 2012, the farmers in the United Kingdom have also felt it acutely. The reasons proved to be more complex, however.

Rainy and expensive

In 2012, the income of UK farmers fell by as much as 11%. There were a few reasons for this drop: too high humidity during harvest time and the poorest harvest of potatoes and wheat since 1970. This resulted in marked price fluctuation. Compared to 2011, the price of potatoes tripled and reached £312/ton, while the price of wheat climbed to £227/ton. Expensive corn means expensive fodder, which creates problems for farmers and manufacturers of meat products.

Cooperation makes things easier

Such alarming indicators and low profits for farmers despite high prices of agricultural products constitute a threat to stability of the food production chain. The National Farmers Union has been striving to highlight this matter. The representatives of the Union believe that the mechanisms proposed by Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) may constitute an effective response to the current challenges on the market. This is because the money transfers within CAP are becoming crucial to the regulation and adaptation of the food production chain to the new situation.

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