H. Kowalczyk: Krajowa Grupa Spożywcza can create a commercial network in the future. The farmer will no longer be helpless in the face of great worries – All the news

We are approaching the establishment of the National Food Group. Following the decision of the Council of Ministers last week, work is underway on the charter of the new body and its registration in the National Judicial Register. Agriculture Minister Henryk Kowalczyk said the process would be completed in late May and June. He stressed that the new food holding will be a good partner for farmers on the one hand, which will strengthen their protection from unfair practices by large contractors, and on the other hand will ensure lower prices for consumers. . It may also be responsible for strategic food supplies. – So, there may be a lot of this work, and maybe in the future there will be some commercial network, who knows says the minister.

On April 20, the Council of Ministers passed a resolution authorizing the establishment of the National Food Group or, in fact, the inclusion of the assets of other agricultural companies in the National Sugar Company, which will form the basis of the holding.

In fact, we only need to develop a charter, sign a notarial document and register in the National Judicial Register. At this point, we can say that the food holding has already been established. I think that the official creation, ie inclusion in the National Court Register, should take place in early May and early June. – Newsseria Business Agency says Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Henryk Kowalczyk.

It will be a state-owned agro-food concern involving 15 companies from sectors such as seed production, sugar production, starch and processing. They will include Elewarr, Danko Hodowla Roślin, who is responsible for grain stocks, Livestock and Plant Seed Production in Polanowice, Kutnowska Hodowla Beet Cukrowego or Kombinat Rolny Kietrz.

This is a joint initiative of the Ministry of State Assets and the Ministry of Agriculture, which control the companies of the State Treasury. According to the government, the holding’s task will be to create a competitive advantage in the domestic agricultural market and strengthen the position of Polish agriculture in foreign markets.

– First of all, the national food holding is to be a very good partner for farmers and to break the price deal, because, unfortunately, such cases often happen. – says Henryk Kowalczyk. – For example, when processing plants take advantage of the situation where a farmer from the ASF and the zone is unable to sell pigs, they are completely healthy pigs. Processing plants offer prices completely below cost, even less than 2 PLN per kilogram. The same goes for soft fruits – when farmers harvest fruits that they can’t even stand for ten or more hours, processing companies sometimes offer prices that don’t quite fit that value.

He stressed that this type of market practice makes it necessary for farmers to take protective measures. Especially in crisis situations such as the presence of ASF. It is the responsibility of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection to respond to the unfair use of contract advantages in the agro-food market. From 2017 to December 2021, when such interventions were allowed, the department initiated 16 proceedings, resulting in 10 decisions related to unfair actions. He also filed more than 90 complaints against entrepreneurs for misuse of contract benefits, and the total financial fines amounted to more than 800 million PLN.

– Recently, I also visited the producers of hops, who complained about the price deal, that the processors do not buy hops from them, even if they need them, and instead of buying them from Polish farmers, they bring them only from Germany. So there are many examples of this – says the Minister of Agriculture.

The government explains that one of the goals of the Polish food holding will be to build a supply chain from the farm as part of a hook strategy. The relationship between the companies within the group will provide control over each stage of production in the sugar, starch, grain and grinding and food processing segments. As a result, companies will be able to refuse the services of intermediaries.

– If the number of intermediaries between the farmer and the final consumer is less and these intermediaries earn less, first, there will be a higher price for the farmer, and on the other side of the food chain, there will be a lower price for the consumer. . So the role of the holding here is really big and I hope it will use it – Says Henryk Kowalczyk. – Concerns that the holding may dictate prices are completely unfounded. Yes, it is possible to break price agreements, but it is impossible to dictate prices. However, this will not be one hundred percent of the market or even the majority of the market, but there will be a small market share, but this price impulse is quite significant. However I think belongs to the holding can be dictated prices are completely unreasonable.

The Minister cites the Polish dairy industry as an example of a well-functioning market. According to him, this is due to the fact that milk processing belongs to the Polish capital.

– This market is very stable. Farmers have a decent income, stable production and sales, so it is clear that there is no need for the intervention of the food holding company, because the dairy industry is working well. I think this is not a coincidence, because all the processing is in the hands of Poland, in most cases in the hands of farmers – Henryk Kowalczyk emphasizes.

Implementation of the tasks of the Polish Food Group is to contribute to improving the country’s food security.

– We also need to think about some processing, processing, strategic resources, strategic storage, because we have enough grain for six months or longer due to the war in Ukraine, and now we are worried. The holding can be an enterprise that buys grain for strategic reserves. So, a lot of this work can be done, and maybe in the future there will be some kind of commercial network, who knows, there are some elements that can prevent the farmer from being helpless in the face of great troubles – says the Minister of Agriculture.

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