The Polish Parliament (Sejm) met on Thursday (20 November) to discuss critical food shortages and to review the implementation of agreements signed in the summer with strikers.
SV INTERIOR Polish Parliament, with President Stanislaw Guzwa speaking."
SV Members listening. (3 SHOTS)
SV President Guzwa speaking.
GV Members of parliament.
CU Agriculture Minister, Leon Klonich speaking.
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Background: The Polish Parliament (Sejm) met on Thursday (20 November) to discuss critical food shortages and to review the implementation of agreements signed in the summer with strikers. The official news agency PAP said a number of ministerial changes might be announced during the current session.
SYNOPSIS: The Polish Parliament opens its new session a stronger, more independent body than when it met last. Its deputies, who formerly acted as little more than a rubber stamp for the Communist Party, now have the freedom to vote their consciences. They are obliged to back the party only on issues deemed to be of major political importance.
With Poland facing grave economic trouble, the speech of Agriculture Minister Leon Klonich dominated the opening session. Mr. Klonich gave a grim report of a disastrous harvest, and said it was not realistic to expect a quick improvement to food problems. The grain harvest was three-point-two million tonnes below target, the potato crop 18 million tonnes below, and sugar beet fell more than six and a half million tonnes behind. Polish agriculture was badly hit by adverse weather, but production also declined through neglect of the private sector, which accounts for about 80 percent of farms. Mr. Klonich reaffirmed that rationing of meat, butter and lard would be introduced shortly. Rationing was one of the fundamental issues for the strikers, who demanded fair distribution of scarce food.