Drafted by a group of lawmakers from the parliament’s lower chamber, the Sejm, the bill was submitted to the parliament’s Legislative Office on 7 November and, on 13 November, it was made available to a number of local industry associations and trade unions as part of a public consultation.
“Middle Eastern markets, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, are particularly important and prospective for our domestic poultry meat producers. In the future, these markets’ potential should be further used by Polish exporters. Otherwise, someone will take our place,” said Łukasz Dominiak, general director of the Warsaw-based National Poultry Council - Chamber of Commerce (KRD-IG).
High export potential
Data from the Polish Chamber of Poultry Meat and Feed Producers (KIPDiP) suggests that, should the ban be introduced, Poland could lose access to a number of major markets in the Middle East. These include Saudi Arabia, which imports 850,000 tonnes (t) of poultry per year, Iraq, with imports in the range of about 700,000t per year, and the UAE, which imports up to 340,000t annually.
“There are meat businesses in our country that already spent, or are currently spending money to adapt their facilities [to perform non-stun slaughter],” Mariusz Szymyślik, director of KIPDiP, told local news site Portalspozywczy.pl. “In addition to the losses of foreign businesses that have already invested in Poland, it is easy to imagine that, as a result of these potential legislative changes, Polish companies will look for a more preferential regulatory environment [for their meat industry investments], for instance in Ukraine.”
Beef exports could decrease
In addition to the representatives of Polish poultry meat businesses, other local meat industry players have also opposed the planned ban.
Jacek Zarzecki, president of the Polish Association of Beef Cattle Breeders and Producers (PZHiPBM), said the ban would be particularly harmful to the country’s beef meat businesses that are predominantly export-oriented.
“About 80% of our [beef meat] production is intended for foreign markets. We are also a major player on a number of markets where there is a demand for halal and kosher beef meat and to which as much as 30% of our production already goes,” said Zarzecki. “Prices will fall, and we will lose the Arab markets where we have been struggling to establish ourselves over the past few years.”
It is noteworthy that Poland’s average beef consumption is only about 1.5kg per year, according to figures from the Polish Association of Beef Cattle Breeders (PZPBM). Due to this, over the past few years, foreign sales have been the main driving force behind most investments in the sector.