A Polish farmer Magdalena Węgiel was awarded, among five others, the Innovation Award for Women Farmers by the Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations-General Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives (COPA-COGECA) for the restoration of trout-farming in the Polish Ojcowski National Park.
“This edition was full of exciting and different projects that clearly present the benefits of women empowerment in… agriculture, economy and society in general,” stressed the head of COPA-COGECA Women’s Commission Lotta Folkesson.
Ms Węgiel and her daughter Agnieszka Sendor founded, and now run, the firm “Pstrąg Ojcowski”. Their goals are to restore trout-farming in the ponds of the Ojcowski National Park, propagate conscious and ethical farming, and to educate society in local history and culinary traditions.
The tradition of trout-farming in the southern Polish town of Ojców, located in the vicinity of the Ojcowski Park Narodowy, dates back to 1935 when the first farm of this kind was established on that land, which then belonged to a Polish aristocrat, countess Maria Ludwika Czartoryska-Krasińska.
Due to lack of use the ponds, in which the fish were farmed, came under threat of abandonment in 2014, however, Ms Węgiel and her daughter bought them and tended to them.
According to COPA-COGECA data, 30 percent of European agricultural family farms are run by women. The organisation argues that women’s participation in the agricultural sector increases innovativeness and contributes to the dynamic development of rural societies.
The competition is organised and supported by the European Council (EC), the Directorate-General for Agriculture of the European Commission and AnimalhealthEurope organisation. Its goal is to draw attention to the innovative projects of European women in the agricultural and forestry sectors.