Poland is the first EU country to receive approval from the European Competition Authorities for direct state aid for the purchase of fertilizer. Poland is allowed by the European Commission to grant a subsidy of 836 million euros to Polish farmers, with a maximum of 53,000 euros per agricultural company.
In connection with the Russian war against Ukraine, the EU opened the agricultural emergency fund (of 500 million euros) earlier this month, and allowed the possibility for national state aid.
EU Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said European agriculture is a free market, and granting 'exceptions' to national state aids with other countries is usually very difficult.
Wojciechowski said at a news conference in Warsaw that the level of Polish government aid would set a record. “Farmers in all countries are being hit by high fertilizer prices,” Wojciechowski said. “Only Poland has decided to help with that.”
Polish farmers can receive subsidies of EUR 53.5 per hectare of grassland or pasture and up to EUR 107 per hectare of arable land. The upper limit of the aid applied for applies to an area of 50 hectares.
Wojciechowski noted that Russian President Putin is using gas prices as a political tool that is fueling a EU-wide food crisis. The extremely high fertilizer and feed prices are particularly disastrous for small and medium-sized companies. In the new CAP agricultural policy, the European Commission is shifting the emphasis from large industrialized agriculture and horticulture to smaller rural businesses.
As he noted, the issue of the welfare and maintenance of livestock farming in small and medium-sized farms will be addressed as a new priority by the European Commission. Over the past ten years, more than 340,000 small 'livestock farms' have disappeared in Poland. Also in other EU countries there is still a lot of scaling up.
According to the Commissioner, the European food system must be based on well-functioning small and medium-sized livestock farms to maintain food security in all EU countries.
Wojciechowski announced that the European Commission is also working on a plan to transfer the unused funds from the second pillar of the CAP to the EU member states so that they can provide additional subsidies. Brussels may make a decision on this as early as next week.