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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » November 3, 2015
Polska... tastes good!
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Promoting Polish Food Outside EU
November 3, 2015   
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A new promotional campaign by the Agriculture Ministry seeks to boost Polish food exports to Asia, Africa and North America.

Polish food has been winning over growing numbers of consumers abroad with its quality and taste. Last year Polish food exports increased by 4.5 percent to a record 21.3 billion euros despite a Russian embargo. Poland noted a 6.5-billion-euro surplus in the trade of food.

The figures for this year are just as promising. In the first half of the year, Polish agricultural exports grew 6.4 percent to almost 12 billion euros, with a trade surplus of 3.5 billion euros, the Agriculture Ministry says.

When Poland joined the EU in 2004, many worried that the country’s agriculture and food processing industry would not be able to fend off competition from Western European producers. Owing to concentrated efforts and investment in the modernization of Polish agriculture, these worries turned out to be unfounded. Within a decade, food production in Poland grew 40 percent and Polish food exports increased 5.5-fold. The country’s food trade surplus increased 13-fold from 500 million euros in 2004.

Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki says these results are something the entire sector should feel proud of. “I want to thank farmers, businessmen, exporters, agricultural agencies and veterinary and phytosanitary services that have contributed to the fact that Poland today exports produce to over 70 markets worldwide,” said Sawicki. Top Polish food exports include livestock, meat and meat products (19 percent), raw and processed fruit and vegetables (14 percent), and grains and cereal products.

Most Polish food exports, roughly 80 percent, are shipped to EU countries, Germany in particular. Until recently, a lot of Polish food was exported to countries beyond Poland’s eastern border, including Russia and Ukraine, but the Russian embargo and political turbulence in Ukraine caused a slump in sales to those markets. However, other markets outside the European Union have been gaining importance and, in order to make the most of this, Poland has worked out a strategy to promote its food on non-EU markets, with a special focus on sales of highly processed products. Sawicki says the ministry has chosen 13 markets to promote Polish food on. “They are the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, India, Japan, China, Canada, Algeria, South Africa, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam and Iran,” says Sawicki. “The markets were selected as ones presenting the best opportunities for export growth. Starting next year, we will concentrate our promotional activities on those markets.” Poland will continue to look for other export markets as well.

The ministry says that, apart from promoting Polish food in these 13 countries, Poland will take part in major trade fairs, including SIAL in Paris, ANUGA in Cologne, and Alimentaria in Barcelona. “Given the growing demand for organic products, it also seems reasonable to promote organic Polish produce at the Biofach fair in Nuremberg, as this is Europe’s main event for such food,” says Sawicki.

The ministry says it and the Agricultural Market Agency (ARR) will assign a total of zl.5 million for promoting Polish food exports. The funds will be combined with a further zl.12 million from enterprises and promotional funds. In total, the ministry and trade organizations will have zl.17 million to promote Polish food and agricultural products on priority markets. The Economy Ministry could supply further funds.
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