From now on, the CEJA website will feature a monthly full-length interview with a President from one of CEJA’s member organisations. This way, you can learn more about CEJA’s members and young farmers from across the EU!
The series kicks off with the President of one of CEJA’s Polish organisations, ZZCNMR.
- Name? Tomasz Łukomski
- Age? 37
- From? Central Poland, Łódź Voivodeship
- Organisation? Trade Union National Center of Young Farmers
- How did you get into farming? Since my childhood I have been helping with the family farm. A few years after I finished my agricultural studies, I became its legal owner.
- Are you the head of the holding? If so, at what age did you start/take over the farm, and from whom? I’m the owner of a farm which I took over from my uncle at the age of 28. Since that time a lot has changed, I have modernised the farm.
- How did you get into young farmer representation? I have been interested in agriculture for as long as I can remember. At university, I was involved in activities of agricultural organisations and noticed that the voice of young people was very poorly represented. Then the Trade Union National Center of Young Farmers was reincarnated, which today is one of the largest farmers’ organisation and the largest young farmers’ organisation in Poland.
- Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time? In ten years’ time I’ll probably still be breeding beef cattle and horses and maybe carrying out some agritourism activities, it’s hard to say. But definitely I can say that in 15 years I’ll enjoy watching my son manage the farm.
- How many young farmers are in your Member State? In Poland we have almost 15% of farmers under the age of 40, more than twice the average in the European Union. We constantly operate for young farmers and try to increase interest in agriculture among young people. Without them, such rapid modernisation of Polish agriculture and rural areas would be impossible.
- What do you think about the new CAP, and how do you see it affecting you and other young farmers in your Member State? The new CAP bets on young farmers. Its impact will be able to be seen after the date of implementation in Poland, that is from 2015. Then we will evaluate the CAP’s impact as well as compare solutions adopted in other Member States.
- What are the most popular types of farm for young farmers in your Member State and why? In Poland there is quite strong regionalisation of production. In the North and North East of the country we have very well developed dairy farms, whereas cereal crops prevail in the West and in southern and central Poland we have a strong orchard and horticultural sector.
- What are the biggest barriers to enter the sector in your Member State? The greatest barrier for a person willing to set up a farm is limited access to land and necessity to incur large expenditures in first years, regardless of the production profile. In recent years, the Polish Ministry of Agriculture has given strong support to young farmers. Nowadays the biggest problem for all Polish agriculture is the collapse of market outlet due to detected ASF and the Russian embargo.
- What recent achievements has your organisation accomplished? This year, the consultation on the new RDP draft for the period 2014-2020 and the new direct payment system were the most important for us. Most of our comments have been approved, which we consider to be a big success.
- How many young farmers does your organisation represent and what kind of services does it provide its young farmer members? Trade Union National Center of Young Farmers represents several thousands of young farmers across the country. To successfully represent the interests of the young farmers we take an active part in legislative procedure. In addition we organise trainings, international youth exchanges, summer camps and we promote farming and rural areas.