Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Poland is not yet lost...

These are the famous words written by Józef Wybicki in 1797 and are the incipit of the national anthem of Poland.

“Cultivation, old civilization, beauty, history! Surprising turnings of streets, shapes of venerable cottages, lovely aged eaves, unexpected and gossamer turrets, steeples, the gloss, the antiquity! Gardens. Whoever speaks of Paris has never seen Warsaw. Whoever yearns for an aristocratic sensibility let him switch on the great light of Warsaw.” Cynthia Ozick

The ministry of economy of Poland organized a Buyers Trade Mission for food sector to Poland from India in May’2015.

The delegation landed in the Capital, the largest city, the financial and economic hub of Poland, Warsaw. The population of Poland is around 48 million and is a Christian country in Central Europe.

The mission to the 'God's Playground' started with a visit to the Warsaw Uprising Museum and visit to the old town at Warsaw on the 11th. A six minute 3 D film viewing at the Museum, took the viewer’s back to the Warsaw before the war and the devastation caused by the war.

After a good acclimatization on the first day, the entrepreneurs had the opportunity of B2B meetings with Polish companies at the Office of the Marshal of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship in Warsaw on the 2nd day.

An Introduction to India and Indian culture was shared by Ms. Shilpa Venugopol, an Indian living in Poland for over four years for the benefit of the Polish business representatives who were new to India.

Various cooperation opportunities for Indian companies were presented by the Polish entrepreneurs. Export potential and prospects of cooperation for food industry were also discussed. The participating Polish companies shared their product samples and encouraged the Indian importers to establish business contacts with them.

Indo-Polish relations have generally been close and friendly, characterized by understanding and cooperation on international front. However, it seemed that there is a lack of understanding on the Polish side regarding the statutory requirements in India in the food sector which are controlled by The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The Indian market for packaged food is still in its nascent stage with the stringent standards laid out by the FSSAI on one hand and the lack of efficient cold chain logistics on the other.

The Indian delegation travelled to the city of Gorzów Wielkopolski and visited the Kaskat Dairy, a well-established, reliable supplier of powdered milk products and Łużyckie Praliny, a manufacturer of chocolate pralines on day 3.

The hectic schedule continued on day 4 (14th May) with an introduction and visit to Kostrzyn - Służbice Special Economic Zone where the Indian entrepreneurs had the opportunity to understand the advantages and nuances of setting up business in a SEZ in Poland. The perspective from an Indian entrepreneur, Mr. Mukesh Patani already operating in the zone was particularly of interest to all and the session saw a lot of sharing amongst the participants.

The short lunch meeting with Mr. Dariusz Lesicki, the Vice Mayor of the city of Zielona Góra, was a pleasant one. It was great to see a senior politician welcome the Indian delegation to his city and discuss the various business opportunities available for the Indian businessmen in Poland.

The last day of the mission, 15th was the most eventful with over 20 Polish companies participating in B2B meeting with the Indian entrepreneurs at the Millennium Plaza in Warsaw, with breathtaking views. The meeting started with a short introduction of the program by Ms. Justyna Markowicz, Agencja M Promotion, Communication & PR Specialist at the Program 'Export Stimulation on selected markets'. Each participant was given 2 minutes to introduce his/ her company following which the entrepreneurs had individual B2B meetings. 

The B2B meetings gave an opportunity for the participating companies to discuss business potential, share their experiences and showcase their products paving the path to future cooperation.

After successful negotiations and promises to keep in touch and explore the opportunities further it was time to say goodbye finally and the participants left for India on the 16th, boarding their flights from the Warsaw Chopin Airport, named after the famous Polish composer, Chopin.

The Indian and Polish entrepreneurs who participated in the program were happy about the prospects of the future cooperation and established new and potential contacts with experts in the industry. The mission schedule provided enough opportunities for networking on both sides and provided new business contacts and the possibility of extending Indo- Polish trade relations.

On the way to the city of Gorzów, the members had the opportunity to visit the famous; Christ the King, which at 33 meters is the tallest statue of Jesus in the world (Christ the Redeemer, at Rio stands at 30 meters). It is noteworthy that the reformist Pope, John Paul II, is a native of Poland.

The government of Poland announced the ‘’Go India’’ programme for Polish enterprises, as a response to the "Make in India" campaign, launched by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The ’Go India’ programme is expected to provide an institutional framework and financial incentives for promoting Polish enterprises in Indian markets. It also aims to support India’s imports from Poland.

It was heartening to see that the official travel portal of Poland has a separate section for the Indian travelers and also attracts Bollywood directors to come and shoot movies in Poland. One of the recent Indian movies made in Poland in “Kick”

The aim of the “Made in Poland” programme is to strengthen the image of Poland as a reliable source for food products.

Poland has a highly developed printed news industry, with many daily newspapers but all in Polish; it is difficult to come across any English newspapers.

Though most of the traditional Polish food is Non Vegetarian, thankfully there were enough choices for the visiting Indian delegation, most of whom were vegetarians.

The National Stadium in Warsaw, standing tall and noticeable from afar, hosts many Football (soccer) events which is one of country's most popular sports.

One can come across the statues of famous personalities from Poland, like Nicolaus Copernicus; the Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at its center and the Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie, who discovered the mysterious element radium.

The entrepreneurs returned to India with their intellect enlightened and hearts warmed.  

And said Poland to them: "Whoever comes to me, will be free and equal, because I am freedom." Adam Mickiewicz