On 27th June Mr. Daniel García, key person of CIRCE in uP_running, visited Poland, concretely the area of Grojec, in Southern Mazovia, which is usually called by the local “Europe’s biggest orchard”. Mr. García was received by the Association of Polish Fruit Growers (ZSRP – Związek Sadowników Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej) to start a 1 year collaboration to transfer knowledge, ideas and part of the uP_running results. But even more important, to start a re-shaping of the mindset of the farmers in this important fruit producing area.
And it was how it finally happened. During the previous months ZSRP and CIRCE had planned to hold a bilateral meeting, but, taking the opportunity, it was agreed to also perform a small workshop with some of the local farmers and ZSRP associates, to explain how to make possible the use of pruning and plantation removal biomass.
Dr. Eng Arkadiusz Dyjakon, a local expert on Pruning to Energy (PtE), from the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences has been a key person to catalyse the interest and engagement between ZSRP and uP_running. Dr. Eng Dyjakon is a referential person in Poland on the utilisation of Pruning to Energy: participant in EuroPruning project, large background in the biomass sector and currently under habilitation on PtE for the University of Wroclaw.
The workshop celebrated on 27th June at the ZRSP headquarters at Grojec revealed to be a crucial step. A call for participation was launched by ZSRP announced in its own web and through several local and province newspapers. The workshop was attended by 16 persons and 10 of them being farmers in the area: they were surprised by the news, and wanted to know more about this issue. Dr. Eng Dyjakon performed an exposition (in polish) based on uP_running materials, co-worked with Mr. García.
After the explanations on how to make PtE possible, a debate was open. There it was depicted the reality of the local farmers. As several of them expressed, it was the first time they heard about this possibility to use apple plantation woody residues for energy. Even though few of them kept a very sceptical position from the beginning, most of the audience expressed more to be fully unaware, and unwise how they could proceed and make it real and possible.
The debate underwent a turning point when one of the attendants took voice and expressed he had already acquired a straw baler and adapted to bale his own prunings. A local pioneer was in the room. Regular farmer, probably know by others, though his unique and pioneering initiative was fully unknown in the region. He explained his problems and his current strategy to try finding a value for his residues.
The day finished with a visit to a success pruning wood value chain in Komorow (Wieniawa), at the fruit exploitation Gospodarstwo Sadownicze. The owner and manager, Mr. Tomasz Bankiewicz, showed the facilities, his pioneering initiative in baling apple prunings. He explained how he made it possible to save money by saving time in the management of his pruning residues, and by selling the bales to a couple of heating facilities usually burning straw bales.
During the next year CIRCE and ZSRP will continue in contact, to cover the main interests and needs of ZSRP, as discussed during the meeting that Mr. García and Dr. Eng. Dyjakon held with Mr. Miroslaw Maliszewski (President of the ZSRP) and part of the ZSRP executive board on 27th June.
The actions will be specially directed to continue re-shaping the mindset of the sector by publishing impacting news coming from uP_running.