Poland: what a difference a year can make

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

In preparation of a GMP+ International seminar this Autumn, I recently made a trip to Poland. It wasn’t my first time. In fact, I’ve visited the country many times before. And over the years, I’ve seen the Polish commitment to feed safety grow. But on this trip, it became clear to me that Poland has really turned the corner: feed safety is becoming top of mind.

Blog 5 - Poland: what a difference a year can make

Johan den Hartog
Managing Director, GMP+ International

This didn’t happen overnight. Getting the Polish feed industry to embrace feed safety has, at times, been a struggle. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Cultural and economic changes – in whatever country they take place – are always a struggle. Maybe they even should be. Because things that come easy, are rarely appreciated as much as things that we fight for.

Little interest

I visited Poland first in 2008. I remember an overall lack of feed safety awareness and little interest in collaboration between companies. GMP+ seminars and meetings didn’t attract the largest audiences. Once our feed safety scheme did gain some foothold there, participation was mostly limited to companies in the production, trade, and transport of feed material – and mainly because of foreign client’s demands. Even when the number of Polish certified companies was growing, there didn’t seem to be a lot of intrinsic motivation (domestic demand) for feed safety.

Taking the lead

But what a difference a few years can make. In recent years, the domestic agri-market (poultry and dairy specifically) has increasingly been encouraging their feed suppliers to become GMP+ FSA certified. No longer do foreign companies have to make demands, Polish companies themselves are taking the lead. And it’s no longer transport or trade companies applying for a GMP+ FSA certificate, premixture and compound feed production are joining in record numbers as well. Nowadays, almost 80 percent of the Polish compound feed industry is GMP+ FSA certified! This newfound dedication to feed safety was on full display during our recent visit. I heard companies boasting about the importance of their certificate, and was encouraged to see the willingness of companies to work together. Some attendants even traveled up to 5 hours to meet us. In 2008, we could barely find any interested people. Now, they were willing to drive for hours! Change takes time and effort. But when it finally comes, it’s that much sweeter.