International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside

In July 2004 the board of International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside - ICPPC decided to launch a national campaign "STOP GMO IN POLAND - GMO Free Zone" to highlight the dangers of GMOs for the Polish countryside and to press for as many areas of Poland as possible to be declared GMO free zones. We joined to the campaign GMO FREE EUROPE because WITHOUT SOLIDARITY THERE WILL BE NO GMO FREE EUROPE.

GMO Free Zones Declared in Poland

There are now 16 GMO free regions (out of a total of 16) in Poland which means that the whole Poland now (5 February 2006) has the status of GMO FREE ZONE!

The areas that have passed GMO-free declarations in Poland:

  • The Swietokrzyskie Province: 11,67 sq km with a population - 1,33 million
  • The Warmińsko-Mazurskie Province; around 25,000 sq km, population 1,5 million
  • the Dolnoslaskie Province (capitol Wroclaw) in South West Poland, bordering Eastern Germany. It has an area of 19948 km2 and a population of 3 million.
  • The Opole Provincial in South West Poland, is a region with many larger than average size farms and a population of just over 1 million and an area of 9412 km2.
  • The Slaskie province, situated in South-West Poland. It is well known for its fine mountains scenery and small scale family farms. The area is 12 000 km2 with a population of 5,000,000.
  • The Pomorskie Province (with capital Gdansk). It is an area on the Baltic sea, popular with tourists. The area is 18,000 sq km and has a population of 2.2 million.
  • The Province of Lodskie (capital Lodz.): 18,220 sq km with a population of 2.5 million.
  • The province of Wielkopolskie. Capitol: Poznan. Area 29,000 sq km, population 3.4 million.
  • The Province of Mazowieckie (capitol is Warsaw): 35,597 sq km with a population of Mazowieckie is 5,135,732
  • The Province of Lubelskie. Capitol: Lublin. Area 25,000 sq km. Population 2 million.
  • The province of Kujawsko-Pomorskie. Capitol: Torun. Area 17,000sq km. Population 2 million.
  • The Community of Lubawa in Warminsko-Mazurskie (North Poland, capitol Olsztyn) has also declared itself a GMO Free Zone. The population is 10,000 and the area 263km2.
  • The Podlaskie Province: 20 179,58 sq km with 1,224,000 people.
  • The board members of the Malopolska Province (15,144 sq km. Population 3,222,862) accepted on November 29th a resolution to declare Malopolska a GMO Free Zone.
  • Suski region (Malopolska): 687 sq km and the population is 81,000
  • Bochenski region (Malapolska) has declared itself GMO Free (631 sq km. Population 97,000)
  • The Commune of Lacko (Malopolska) has passed a resolution to declare itself a GMO Free Zone: 132ha area. Population 14,500.
  • The board of the city of Krakow (Malopolska) has also voted to declare the city a GMO Free Zone. Area of 327 sq km and a population of 746,000
  • The Polanow commune, in the Zachodnio-Pomorskie region, has declared a GMO Free Zone status. This is in the heart of a large scale, mostly intensive agricultural region, with several factory farms - so this is very welcome. (Area 39 sq km, population 9,868
  • The province of Podkarpackie (17, 926 sq km, with 2,097 000 people), in South-East Poland, was the first Polish region which declared itself a GMO free zone. The declaration was passed on 27th of September with the strong support of the newly elected Senator of Poland, Mr Kazimierz Jaworski.

History of GMO-free regions in Poland

On March21st 2005, after intensive lobbying from ICPPC, Greenpeace and others, the board of ministers of the Polish Government announced  that it is to place a two year ban on the introduction of the GM maize MON 810 in Poland. The Government states that national agricultural conditions are unlikely to be suitable for the planting of this crop and that the situation will only be clear after proper research has been carried out in Poland. It also recognises the risk that GM maize could present to organic crops.

On March 21st, the board of Wielkopolska voted to make the Province a GMO Free Zone. This was the third time that the board had met to consider this proposition - and the final decision was carried by a substantial majority. Wielkopolska, whose capitol is Poznan, is a region where intensive, large scale farming operations tend to dominate, so it is particularly significant that the anti GMO vote was cast here. This brings to seven the number of Provinces to have declared GMO Free Status in Poland. For the first time more than half the population of Poland are living in GMO Free Zones.

On March 31st 2005, the Province of Lodskie, in central southern Poland, declared itself a GMO Free Zone.
Lodze has a population of 2.5 million and covers an area of 18,220 km2. The capitol city is Lodz.

However, local authorities, as in other areas of Europe, are not empowered to make laws, so legal enforcement can only happen once the national government recognizes the GMO Free status.

Polish Marshals want GMO free Poland

On the 9th of September 2005 the Assembly of Marshals of the Polish Provinces (*) accepted a statement concerning the planting of genetically modified plants (GMO) in Poland.

In this statement the Assembly of Marshals of the Polish Provinces has, among other things, agreed that:

(...) approval for cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can damage the public image of the Polish countryside which nowadays is considered as the source of healthy, ecological and high quality food (...)

(...) man will never be able to have total control over the biology of life and therefore cannot ensure that the uncontrolled release of GMO's will not happen.

It has to be underlined that the goal of providing genetically modified organisms is to increase the efficiency in farming. The main problem, however, for farmers in Poland as well as in other EU countries, is not to raise efficiency but to be able to sell their produce on the present market

(...) it is necessary to take action for the preservation of the environment and for crop protection against the introduction of genetically modified plants that could cause irreversible change (...)

(...) in accordance with the statements of consumers, who seek safe and healthy agricultural products, it is necessary to support production of food using environmentally friendly methods (...)

(...) the big number of protests by local governments in 13 provinces in Poland, as well as other European regions, haven't been taken into account by European Union authorities. The European law (Directive 2001/18, 2002/53) benefits the producers of genetically modified seeds, or is interpreted as doing so (...)

The Assembly of Marshals of the Polish Provinces concluded that it is necessary that:

a) The Polish Government should prepare a motion to the European Commission to ban the import of genetically modified products in all areas of the country,

b) this problem is introduced through the Polish MEPs for debate in the EP in order to achieve a ruling which will allow all EU countries to make their own decisions in this very important matter (...)

(*) The Assembly of Marshals of the Polish Provinces is the opinion-making and advisory body representing the interest of all provinces (Poland is divided for 16 provinces). The Assembly has been holding regular meetings analyzing propositions for changes in the governments' acts and other regulations as well as discussing the problems of provinces. Each meeting is concluded  with common statements that must be accepted by all Marshals.

Source: icppc
More about the history of GMO-free regions in Poland