Former agri min says greenhouses should have sufficient fuel for winter

Tomasz Gzell/PAP

The 600,000 tonnes of culm (a granular coal derivative) Poland has in stock should be enough to heat the country’s greenhouse this winter, a former Polish agriculture minister has told PAP.

Krzysztof Ardanowski, who heads the presidential Agricultural and Rural Areas Council, told PAP on Thursday that, "for a couple of months there was a real fear that greenhouses would not get culm," explaining that a "clear majority" of such facilities in Poland rely on the fuel.

A shortage of culm, he added, would have "very serious consequences for the Polish food market".

"It seems that 600,000 tonnes of culm is an amount that should suffice for the season, or at least for the start of it," said Ardanowski.

The former minister went on to explain that over the years, Poles' eating habits have changed and they now expect, "vegetables, mostly tomatoes, cucumbers or peppers to be available during the whole year."

He said if the produce could not be grown in Polish greenhouses, which need to be heated during winter, they could be acquired from Morocco, Egypt, Israel or Spain but that in such a case the greenhouse agriculture economy in Poland would collapse and the imports would be more expensive for consumers.

Asked whether Poland was secure for food, Ardanowski replied: "It is secure, we have plenty of food," but warned that if agricultural costs grow in terms of fertilisers, fuel and electricity, "in future years the harvests will drop."