Agriculture Minister Stanislaw Kalemba steps down over ASF cases
March 14, 2014
Poland's Agriculture Minister Stanislaw Kalemba
Poland's Agriculture Minister Stanislaw Kalemba, a member of the junior coalition party PSL tendered his resignation on Thursday in relation to the difficult situation on the Polish pork market resulting from the discovery of African swine fever (ASF) cases in Poland.
On Jan. 29 Russia imposed ban on pork imports from Poland and other EU countries after ASF cases had been reported in Lithuania. Poland is one of the EU's leading pork exporters with exports in 2013 valued at EUR 912 million.
Kalemba had earlier said that because of the ban some 5,000-6,000 tons of Polish pork products are not crossing the eastern border each day.
Kalemba said on Thursday that he was resigning over lack of government action on compensating farmers affected by the situation.
He cited "failure to realize provisions adopted at the Council of Ministers on February 25," i.e. measures aimed at containing the effects of the disease discovery.
"The main reason for the resignation is a lack of government actions aimed at conducting operations to fight off the effects of two cases of ASF," Kalemba told reporters. In particular, Kalemba pointed to a delay in buying up surplus pork from the buffer zone where ASF was discovered.
A buffer zone has been set up by the European Commission along parts of Poland’s eastern border with Belarus and Lithuania, after two cases of African Swine Fever had been identified in two dead wild boars found in the area.Farmers have been ordered to fence in their land, lay down disinfectant mats and test and monitor shipments of live pigs out of the zone.