Polish farmers protest land sales to foreigners
PR dla Zagranicy
Nationwide protests were launched by Polish farmers on Wednesday amid claims that the government is 'preferential' to foreigners in its sales of agricultural land to foreigners.
Photo: PAP/Pawel Supernak
Farmers and trade unionists protest outside the Ministry of Agriculture on Wednesday. Photo. PAP/Pawel Supernak
Road blocks were held at various points across the country, and the Ministry of Agriculture was picketed (pictured above) in the protest, which is backed by the Solidarity trade union.
According to unionists, land is typically being sold to representatives of international corporations.
“This is particularly the case with the border areas in western Poland,” said Wojciech Wlodarczyk, Chairman of Solidarity's Malopolska Regional Council for Individual Farmers.
These formerly German lands were awarded to Poland after World War II, when Poland's borders were pushed west as a result of the Yalta Conference of February 1945.
“The tenders for the sale of land are out of control,” Wlodarczyk claimed.
Tuesday's protests follow local demonstrations that have been taking place since 14 January.
Protesters claim that the Ministry of Agriculture has not responded to their calls for dialogue.
“We have been ready to talk right from the beginning, so that we could solve our problems round a table,” claimed Edward Kosmal, chairman of the Cross-Union Committee of Protesting Farmers in the Pomerania Region.
Other grievances are also being voiced in the demonstrations.
“As part of the protests, we are also fighting to protect state forests against privatisation, because it's for our common good,” Wlodarczyk said, although the government has vigorously denied claims that it is intending to sell off state-owned forests.
Calls for action are also being made concerning losses of Polish pig farmers as a result of the ongoing Russian block on EU pork products, after cases of African Swine Fever were found near the Belarusian border in both Lithuania and Poland. (nh)