Farmers from all over Poland crowded outside the Agency for Restructuring and Modernization of Agriculture local offices for over 2 days last week to get a share of EU subsidies totalling 360 mln euro.
Vice Minister of Agriculture Henry Kowalczyk assured farmers that everybody making an application would get funded. “If this year’s funding is not sufficient, the Agency will release payments from funds intended for 2008-2009,” said Kowalczyk.
The minister’s guarantees did little to settle jostling farmers at Agency Warsaw’s office with pushing and shoving leading to the doors being broken down in the early hours of Saturday morning Nov. 10, according to Zycie Warszawy daily. Eager farmers swarmed into the Agency’s offices creating a state of chaos when clerical staff arrived at 8am to begin business. The Farmer’s actions delayed proceedings until 11am when Agency staff “got things back under control” said Agency spokesperson Radoslaw Iwanski.
Dariusz Szumanski from the Plock area (110 kilometers west of Warsaw) had been queuing since Thursday, spending nights in his car. “We decided to come earlier in case there was any trouble,” Szumanski told Zycie Warszawy. “For this much money it’s worth putting up with the cold. The application for my business plan is worth 150,000 zloty,” he said.
Twenty thousand farmers have applied for EU payments. Each farmer can receive a maximum of 300,000 zloty from the EU fund for such things as buying machinery, trees and plants for orchards, breeding stock and building improvement.
Funds designated to Polish regions differs across the country. Mazowsze’s (Capital Warsaw) 2,317 applicants will receive a total of 60 mln euro, as the largest beneficiary, and Podkarpacie (Capital Rzeszow, 160 kilometers east of Krakow) will receive the least amount, at 11 mln euro.