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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » June 27, 2013
Polska… tastes good!
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A New Opening
June 27, 2013   
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by Stanisław Kalemba, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

As I predicted in my previous article, May indeed saw Polish-Czech contacts being stepped up. The last in a series of our meetings was held at the beginning of June. The meetings represented a new opening in our mutual relations. Direct talks at the ministerial level and meetings by inspection authorities enabled us to understand each other better and establish closer cooperation. The best proof was a survey on food quality conducted among Czech consumers by a Czech website. It turned out that most of those surveyed were positive about Polish food and said it was better and tastier than Czech food.

I am convinced that we will now see a marked improvement in mutual relations, an improvement reflected especially in the Czech media, which tended to fiercely criticize the quality of Polish food. An opportunity to see that our food really is excellent was provided by the 10th Try Fine Food picnic held on the campus of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW) June 15.

Thanks to consistent work and funding from both European Union and Polish sources, Polish agriculture continues to be modernized, while Polish processing plants are among the most modern ones in Europe. At the same time, we are achieving record results in the trade of agricultural and food products. Last year we exported 17.5 billion euros worth of agri-food products and recorded a 4.1-billion-euro surplus in this trade. We continue to enjoy a positive balance in the trade of agricultural and food products. It is worth stressing that around a quarter of our agricultural and food products in terms of value are exported worldwide.

The agricultural sector deserves further investment because, apart from generating income and creating high added value, it also helps retain many jobs in Poland. A week before the Try Fine Food picnic, the Warsaw University of Life Sciences hosted the finals of the Agricultural Knowledge and Skills contest whose participants showed they know a lot about agriculture. These young people are our capital and this bodes well for the future of Polish agriculture because the percentage of young farmers in Poland is higher than just about anywhere else in the EU.

The Try Fine Food picnic is an excellent venue for food producers and consumers to meet directly. It is also where the city meets the countryside. I am glad that so many residents of Warsaw—who visited the SGGW gardens with their families—took part in this festival of Polish food. It was a pleasure for me that members of the diplomatic corps also visited our picnic in great numbers as usual. They had an opportunity to see for themselves how good Polish food is, especially regional and traditional products.

The main objective of the Try Fine Food program is to create a positive image for Polish top-quality agri-food products. The Try Fine Food emblem tells consumers that the product they have chosen has been made from top-quality ingredients and has been properly labeled. The label on the packaging is designed to help consumers find a quality, safe and tasty product among many other products displayed on store shelves. I have to add that products marked with the Try Fine Food emblem are already a common sight. There are more than 500 of them and they are popular with consumers.

Those visiting the picnic had an opportunity to taste some of Poland’s best meat products. The exhibitors served, for example, top quality beef produced in keeping with the Quality Meat Program (QMP) system. Also promoted was pork with the Pork Quality System (PQS) label and poultry produced in keeping with the Quality Assurance for Food Products (QAFP) system.

This shows that individual sectors attach great importance to producing meat under quality systems. The strict process regime guarantees consumers that the products they buy are of the best quality and are a match for products offered by well-known producers from across the world. This attention to top standards means that products with quality labels are winning new markets, not only within the European Union but also beyond. I would like to encourage everyone to visit Poland and find out for themselves just how good Polish food is. Such a visit provides an opportunity to get to know Poland’s great culinary tradition and taste exquisite dishes.

A culinary tour of Poland may be an attractive proposal for a vacation. One can spend it on an agritourism farm, of which there are many in Poland. They offer not only comfortable accommodation but also specialties of regional cuisine and regional products. Additionally, such farms offer interesting activities for vacationers, including demonstrations of old crafts, regional embroidery and pottery lessons, and culinary workshops where participants learn how to cook traditional dishes. Tourists visiting Poland’s rural areas will also find many beautiful sites with well-preserved rural landscapes and biodiversity.

I would like to encourage everyone to come to Poland for such a vacation.
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