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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » February 25, 2011
Polska… tastes good!
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Es wird alles vorbei...By Marek Sawicki, PhD, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
February 25, 2011   
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All things come to an end, said the managers of the Messe Berlin fairgrounds and sure enough, after months of preparations and 10 eventful days in Berlin, the international Grüne Woche trade fair is now history.


This year’s international Grüne Woche fair in Berlin was special for Poland in that it was the partner country of the event. The slogan with which Poland came to the fair was “Polska... schmeckt!”—Poland Tastes Good! Judging by the crowds coming to the Polish national stand every day, a lot of people were indeed keen to get a taste of Poland. Visitors could try traditional Polish flavors, taking a culinary tour of Poland during which they also found out about the culinary and cultural heritage of Poland, Polish tourist attractions and the many agrotourist farms in Poland.

Thanks to the involvement of Warsaw City Hall, the tour started with a journey into the past to the music of Frederic Chopin. The opening ceremony featured a show entitled Rock Loves Chopin, seen by 5,000 guests from around the world. The audience heard works by the great Polish composer in both classical and modern arrangements. The official part of the ceremony was followed by a tour of Polish flavors which went on for the rest of the international Grüne Woche fair at the Polish exhibition hall. I had the honor to open the Polish national stand together with German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner, Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit and Gerd Sonnleitner, the president of the German Farmers’ Union.

As in previous years, the Polish exhibition was held at hall no. 11.2. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development shared the exhibition floor of almost 1,000 square meters with Ma³opolska, Wielkopolska, £ód¼, Lubuskie, Lower Silesia, Warmia-Mazuria, Western Pomerania, Lublin and Kujawy-Pomerania provinces, the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ), the Association of Sturgeon Fish Processing Plants and a consortium comprising the Association of Polish Butchers and Meat Producers, the Polish Association of Beef Cattle Breeders, the National Poultry Council, the Polish Meat Association of Polish Meat Producers, and the Union of Meat Industry Producers and Employers.

The ministry’s stand provided information on the Try Fine Food (PD¯) Program, agriculture and food policy and projects carried out with Rural Development Program (PROW) funds for 2007-2013. As usual, visitors could taste food products with the PD¯ quality stamp and other delicacies prepared by local action groups, including the Organization of Associations for the Development of Districts in the Northern Part of the Great Mazurian Lakes [local action group no. 9], “Warmiñski Zak±tek,” “Dorzecze S³upii,” “¯ywiecki Raj,” “Spichlerz Górnego ¦l±ska” and “Dolina So³y.”

Sweet treats awaited visitors at the stands of the Wielkopolska region including (St. Martin’s scones baked on the site) and Kujawy-Pomerania region (different variations of kaymak). Other Polish specialties included cold-press juices (Ma³opolska), goose meat (Kujawy-Pomerania), mead (Lublin) and regional beer varieties.

Apples from Polish orchards were the leading theme of the Polish national stand and the symbol of all promotional campaigns tied with Poland’s participation in the Grüne Woche fair. An assortment of the best Polish food products was put in baskets which on the third day of the fair were handed to the 100,000th visitor to the fair.

The broad agenda of events showcasing the art and culture of Poland proved popular with visitors. Song and dance ensembles performing at the Polish exhibition including a group from Lubuskie province, the Poltex ensemble from £ód¼, a group called Pieñkowianie and a highlander folk band. The colorful performances encouraged visitors to the fair to come to Poland for more than just a culinary trip.

The status of the fair’s partner country was a challenge and an obligation for Poland, necessitating the first large-scale coordinated promotional campaign for Polish food on the German market. Since a quarter of Poland’s food exports go to Germany, Poland raised the standard for the future partner countries of the international Grüne Woche fair. The event also prompted Poland to start more extensive talks on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy.

The situation keeps changing, putting new challenges before us. Europe needs to change its Common Agricultural Policy so it becomes simple and comprehensible to all. It is necessary to offer greater support to rural areas and such changes have to be real rather than cosmetic ones, so they meet the challenges of today. The Common Agricultural Policy after 2013 should be a policy of innovation, competition and modernity, but at the same time it needs to be simple and easy. Talks during the fair with government officials from Germany and ministers of EU member states and Switzerland, Ukraine, Moldova and Russia are a good sign for the future.

Poland plans to continue promoting itself and its food in Germany. These efforts will be continued at the ITB tourism fair in March, in which Poland is also the partner country.
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