The Green Deal is expected to hamper Polish milk production and drive up farm-gate prices, Małgorzata Cebelińska, trade director at Polish milk company, SM Mlekpol, said in a statement. Even more, damage may come from a possible rise in VAT.
“Limiting the use of plant protection products, as well as matching welfare and ecological standards, is burdensome,” Cebelińska said, adding that for most farmers, it would be challenging to source enough resources to conduct the required modernisation.
“The profitability of milk production is closely related to its scale and efficiency, and when they are lowered, the price of milk goes up,” Cebelińska claimed.
In order to avoid price fluctuations on the market, the Polish government must design some adequate state support programmes, under which farmers will be subjected to the reimbursement of the costs rising due to complying with higher environmental standards, she suggested.
The Mlekpol is a Grajewo-based dairy cooperative in Poland, which is one of the largest producers of milk and dairy products in Europe. In 2020, Mlekpol purchased nearly 2 billion litres of milk, which is over 16% of the entire Polish raw milk supply.
In the meantime, Sylwia Spurek of the Polish parliament has recently called to raise VAT on milk and meat to 23% so that customers would eventually stop “eating meat and drinking milk”.
“The European parliament voted to increase VAT [by EU national parliaments] on ‘unhealthy’ products with a high environmental footprint. Therefore, without exceptions, 23% VAT must be introduced to reduce and then eliminate the demand for these products,” Spurek said. This proposal caused outrage among Polish farmers.
“We know that the member of the parliament is a vegan, she does not eat meat, and she is against consuming eggs and milk. We all understand this perfectly well. No one denies her the right to do so. But her suggestions have gone too far. Not all people are the same way,” Ryszard Łabędzki, a milk farmer from Marynowy, told local press.
Andrzej Sobociński, a member of the board of the Pomeranian Chamber of Agriculture, said that the idea to raise VAT, if adopted, would, first of all, devastate customers’ wallets and spur farmers to boost dairy exports.
However, market participants indicated that the idea of raising VAT for livestock production had not been supported by Polish politicians.