Destination: export – the transformation of Polish farming 1989-2014

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In the past quarter of a century, Polish agriculture has undergone a major transformation process. Its main reasons include the growth of exportation of agricultural and grocery products abroad. As a result, Polish farming has become one of the strategic elements of the national economy.

Emergence of a market economy – liberalization of the agricultural market

Agriculture was in no way exempt from the systemic changes of 1989/90. The first result of the opening up to the global markets was the influx of imported goods from other countries. The preparation of our economy to exporting our products required a decade.

In early 1990′, the Polish market was very receptive. The Poles were particularly eager to purchase grocery products from other climatic zones. The rise in exportation was hampered by the fierce competition on international markets. This meant that almost up to 2003 the importation of grocery products exceeded the exportation of grocery goods. However, the situation began to change dynamically following the day Poland joined the European Union in 2004.

Geography of Polish exportation

The shift in the exportation of Polish food commenced in 2002. Shortly, from the position of an importer, we became a leading European exporter. The international sales of Polish agricultural and grocery products grew sevenfold. By 2013, the foreign trade surplus had grown to 6 billion euro. The rise in the quantity of food exports was owed to the opening up of Poland to other markets, including the European Union Common Market. From 2003 to 2012, Poland’s share in the total import of the EU more than doubled (from 1,7% to 4,1 %).

Who buys Polish food

At present, 78% of the agricultural products which are exported from Poland are shipped to EU countries. The main group are processed groceries, such as confectionery and meat, while cereals enjoy a more modest share. The Russian Federation and former Soviet republics import Polish fruit, meat and meat offal, as well as – to a lesser extent – cheese and vegetables. Another destination worth mentioning is China, which imports Polish pork, cheese and dairy products. The diversification of export destinations is increasing Poland’s food security.

25 years of free market economy – summing up

The growth of the Polish agriculture in the past decade resulted from the development of the international trade as well. The share of the export of agricultural and grocery products in exportation volume rose to 13.1% in 2013, while ten years earlier it stood at a mere 8.4%. Poland’s joining the European Union had the most influence on the rise in the export of Polish goods. The international trade balance surplus impacts on agriculture as well as other sectors of the economy. It covers 70% of the trade deficit in other sectors, making it possible for the whole economy to grow. Exportation is the opportunity for the Polish agriculture to continue growing.

You can read more about the topic in “25 years of Polish agriculture. Food security in Europe” Report.