Collapse in Polish pig farming. We have become an importer from an exporter

Luc Williams

Poles' preference for pork is not weakening. Nearly 40 kg of it is eaten per person in the country every year. For comparison – during this time, an average citizen consumes just over 2.5 kg of beef. Theoretically, there are still conditions for maintaining pig farming at a level similar to what we had when Poland joined the European Union. Meanwhile, since then, the pig population has dropped from 18.5 million to less than 9 million currently – Krzysztof Borkowski, vice-president of the Union of Producers and Employers of the Meat Industry UPEMI, told PAP.

“We were also an exporter back then in 2004 – PAP. Our bacon was eagerly bought by, among others, Koreans. Today, there is nothing left of it. Poland has become an export market for pork for other countries. Polish meat is losing the competition, among others. with Spanish products,” he noted.

According to Borkowski, the consequence of the trade policy used by large retail chains that import cheaper pork from other countries is the lack of profitability of production in Poland.

According to him, the current crisis in pig breeding is, among others, a consequence of the unsuccessful fight against ASF (African swine fever). “The previous team made many mistakes – instead of solving the problem, herds were liquidated. Instead of eliminating sick wild boars, healthy piglets were killed and disposed of, and farmers were subsidized not to breed pigs,” he argued.

As pointed out by the deputy head of UPEMI, the regionalization of ASF zones was not introduced in Poland in time, so after detecting a plague outbreak, the entire country was immediately eliminated from pork exports, not just the region affected by the plague.

“As a result, breeding has collapsed and it will be very difficult to rebuild it, especially in eastern Poland, where many farms went bankrupt first. Today, there are empty pigsties there. Farmers were paid subsidies for the liquidation of breeding farms, and today they have nothing,” Borkowski emphasized.

According to Krzysztof Borkowski, Polish production requires support, which should cover both large farms and smaller farms, because the development of smaller, high-quality local production is also needed. He added that it is necessary to ensure the possibility of selling these products. “Currently, there is nowhere to sell it because chains prefer to put a cheaper global product on the shelf instead of a better and more expensive local product. However, there are countries that have managed to cope with this and managed to convince stores to include local products in their offer,” he argued. .

He added that financial resources should not be used for subsidies because, as he said, this is “overeating” the funds. Instead, money should be allocated to building strong farms and competitive processing plants, which require investments in automation and robotization of technological processes.

As the UPEMI representative assured, some matters can be resolved without incurring additional costs. He mentioned the transfer of funds from the Rural Development Program for purposes related to innovative agricultural economy. “It is also necessary to stop interpreting the provisions of the construction law by each district in its own way, which increases obstacles, e.g. in building biogas plants. If there were clear spatial development plans, there would be no situation where those who build housing estates conflict with those who want to build a pigsty or a barn,” he added.

Poland's recovery of the exporter's position will, in turn, require – as the vice-president of UPEMI noted – joint action of the meat industry and the government. “To build a strong Polish brand abroad, the involvement of all ministries and the Prime Minister himself will be necessary. Let me give you an example: since we buy billions of weapons from the Koreans, we should also talk to them about access of our products to their market,” Borkowski concluded. (PAP)

author: Grzegorz Kacalski


Luc's expertise lies in assisting students from a myriad of disciplines to refine and enhance their thesis work with clarity and impact. His methodical approach and the knack for simplifying complex information make him an invaluable ally for any thesis writer.