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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » October 31, 2013
Polska… tastes good!
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Another Record Year for Poland?
October 31, 2013   
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by Stanis³aw Kalemba, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

More than 1,000 exhibitors recently came to Poznañ from 32 countries to take part in the largest international food fair in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Polagra Food International Trade Fair for Food was accompanied by several other trade fairs and exhibitions: the Polagra Gastro International Trade Fair for Gastronomy, the Polagra Tech International Fair of Food Technologies, the Pakfood Food Industry Packaging Fair, the Invest Hotel Equipment Trade Fair and the Tastes of the Regions exhibition. Designed to promote regional, traditional and certified food from Poland, the Tastes of the Regions event drew over 25,000 visitors. In total, around 50,000 people showed up at Polagra Food and accompanying events. This was a very good turnout, especially because Polagra is turning into a set of highly specialized events with trade insiders as the target group.

The latest accomplishments of the food sector were presented to companies from around the world. The reputation of Polagra Food and the other events was reflected in the fact that the opening ceremony was attended by official delegations from India, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, the Czech Republic, Britain, South Africa, Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine.

Polagra Food these days clearly shows that Polish agriculture and the country’s food processing industry have come a long way. We always had very tasty food, but when it came to packaging and promotion, Poland had a lot of catching up to do. The change that came was quick, however, and as farms were modernized, so were food processing plants. New plants were also built. After all, these two sectors cannot be treated separately. Poland has seen particularly extensive changes over the past decade, a time when agricultural and food products have accounted for a rapidly growing part of Poland’s foreign trade as a whole. In 2003, the year before Poland joined the EU, agricultural and food products accounted for 8.4 percent of Polish exports, while last year the figure totaled 12.5 percent. Exports have been steadily rising and Poland’s trade surplus in this sector is growing. Data from the first half of this year indicates that this will be another record year for Poland.

Poland’s success on the European market is further evidenced by the fact that this country is the largest producer of apples and concentrated apple juice in Europe, the second largest producer of rye and potatoes, the third largest of sugar and rapeseed and the fourth largest of wheat and milk. There is huge potential in Polish agriculture. EU and national funds combined with a traditional respect for the land and the environment, have resulted in this potential being put to ever better use.

It is always good to see initiatives aimed at promoting Polish food and its taste and quality. There were two such events at Polagra Food. One of them was the Polish Food Producer award ceremony, held during the Polish Food Producer Positivist Initiative event, organized by the Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski Association. The main idea behind the initiative is to promote Polish food products. During the other ceremony, a new group of products received Try Fine Food (PD¯) labels. This time, the label was awarded to 126 products made by 41 companies in the food and agricultural sector. The PD¯ label can now be seen on 513 products from 99 companies. It is only awarded to products that meet demanding criteria set out by experts on food product quality. The PD¯ program encompasses 15 groups of products, including meat and dairy items, cereals, fish, fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The PD¯ labels, granted for three years at a time, help consumers in their buying decisions.

It is good to see such a diversity of food and it is good to see that the number of products with the PD¯ label is growing steadily. It is products like these that enhance the reputation of Polish food.
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