Without quality oils, our margarines and spreads would not taste the same. Rapeseed oil is a major component of many margarines and spreads. IMACE has met with Mr Juliusz Młodecki, a Polish rapeseed farmer, who tells us about the key principles of rapeseed cultivation, as well as its importance in the food chain.
IMACE: Can you tell us a bit more about the importance and the role of rapeseed cultivation in your country?
Mr Mlodecki: Poland is the third largest producers of rapeseed in Europe, after France and Germany. In Poland rapeseed is cultivated in approximately 90.000 farms and it has brought significant financial inflows to the households. Rapeseed, as a non-cereal plant is a very important component of crop rotation on farms. Its cultivation allows for the conservation of biodiversity.
The margarine production chain starts with the seeds. How do farmers perceive their role in the food chain?
The first and foremost role of agriculture is the production of food. Rapeseed is a primary oil plant in Europe and therefore it is a very important raw material in the production of vegetable oils. As farmers, our role is to provide the market with quality rapeseed.
How do you ensure the quality of the seeds, and how does it afterwards contribute to final products?
The quality of final products, oils or margarines, depends on the quality of the raw materials used for their production. We do meet the needs of the food industry, thanks to very precise cultivation and care of the plantation. It starts with the selection of varieties adapted to the climate and soil conditions of each farm. We must also ensure the proper protection and fertilization of each crop. Finally, plants must be harvested when they are fully mature. All these elements are crucial since, if we as producers, do not comply with the strict standards of the industry, we do not sell seeds.
How important is sustainability in rapeseed production?
The principle of sustainable development is the basis of farms management. Farmers know very well how to subject production intensity to the principles of environmental protection. This is the basic idea behind sustainable agriculture. Efforts are made to protect and improve soil fertility, ensuring the diversity of the environment and the appropriate balance of production. By raising awareness and using modern tools and methods of farm management, farmers are able to maintain high yields while protecting the environment.
 Mr Mlodecki is also the chairman of the National Association of Rapeseed and Plant Protein Producers in Poland.