Fwd: [RTF- UK ] Thousands of Polish farmers march in Warsaw

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Thu Feb 19 16:10:04 GMT 2015

>Thousands of Polish farmers march in Warsaw
>Photos available: 
>Today 6000 farmers marched in Warsaw to protest 
>the Polish government's failure to address their 
>longstanding demands. After failed talks between 
>Union leaders and the prime minister this 
>afternoon farmers built an occupation camp 
>outside the prime ministers palace and have 
>vowed to remain until their demands are met.
>Protests have been taking place across the 
>country over the last three weeks with a range 
>of organisations from community groups and local 
>protest committees to regional and national 
>unions blockading roads and government 
>ministries in hundreds of locations. At the 
>national level the protests are being 
>coordinated by the farmers’ branch of the 
>Solidarity union. The protests today are also 
>being supported by unions representing 
>bee-keepers, coal miners and nurses who are also on strike.
>The key demands of the Solidarity Union are for 
>robust legislation to address three main concerns:
>ñ Land rights – implement regulation to prevent 
>land-grabs by Western companies and to protect 
>family farmers rights to land – (NB. From 2016 
>foreign buyers will be legally able to buy Polish land).
>ñ Legalize direct sales of farm produce – the 
>government must take action to improve farmers’ 
>position in the market, including the adoption 
>of a law to facilitate direct sales of processed 
>and unprocessed farm products (NB. Poland has 
>the most exclusionary policies in Europe around 
>on-farm processing of food products and direct 
>sales, which make it impossible for family 
>farmers to compete with bigger food companies).
>ñ Ban the cultivation and sale of Genetically Modified Organisms in Poland.
>ñ Impliment regulation to ensure farmers are 
>compensated for losses caused by the 
>government's and the EU's negligent policies 
>towards quotas, control of wild animals and trade embargos.
>These demands build on long standing grievances 
>among farmers who say that the  government has 
>not fulfilled agreements and contracts, leading 
>to bankruptcy for many farmers, loss of 
>agricultural land and to an agricultural model 
>that has prohibited the direct sale of products 
>and forced farmers to focus on selling raw 
>products into the low-priced export market which 
>are then processed by international companies 
>and re-imported leaving Polish farmers with 
>little of the real value of the products.
>Speaking at the protest Maria and Mariusz Nowak, 
>family farmers from Zachodniopomorskie province 
>said: The government needs to resign! We should 
>withdraw our membership of the European Union 
>and recover our national food self-sufficiency. 
>It is crazy that we import products we can 
>produce here - Our products are better quality 
>and are healthier. The government is undermining 
>polish farmers and needs to resign!
>Jadwiga Lopata, a family farmer and co-director 
>of the International Coalition to Protect the 
>Polish Countryside (ICPPC) said: The health and 
>welfare of the nation depends on consumers and 
>farmers having access to traditional seeds and 
>good quality food. The Polish government does 
>not accept this and is destroying the roots of 
>Polish agriculture by listening to corporations rather than Polish people.
>More information: Julian Rose president of the ICPPC  - julian at icppc.pl
>ICPPC - International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside,
>34-146 Stryszów 156, Poland tel./fax +48 33 8797114  biuro at icppc.pl
>www.gmo.icppc.pl   <http://www.eko-cel.pl/>www.eko-cel.pl
>Uk mailing list
>Uk at lists.reclaimthefields.org

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