Metamorphosis of Polish agriculture

| Polish Market |

As little as two decades ago, most Polish farms were a mix of thatched cottages and remains of communist collective farms. There has not been a spectacular revolution since then, but the situation has changed fundamentally.

The past

Considerable fragmentation of farmland, collective farming solutions and mentality, farmers seeking other jobs and farming small plots of land for their own needs – such features shaped the image of the Polish agriculture in early 1990′. Shortly after the return of the democratic rule, our country began to make efforts to enter the European Union. Unexpectedly, this met with opposition in the countryside, as farmers feared that subsidized produce from the West would flood the Polish market.

The present

Paradoxically, it was the farmers who proved to have benefited the most from Polish membership in the EU. They receive various kinds of support resulting from Common Agricultural Policy of the Union. We might risk a thesis that direct subsidies per hectare provided many farmers with an opportunity which would otherwise have been beyond their reach. Thanks to standardized production and common regulations, Poland has become an attractive market from investors, for example in the dairy sector. Also, EU financing mechanisms enable to fuel both sustainable development of rural areas, and to improve the competitive edge of Polish agricultural manufacturers. Polish farmers have wider access to modern fertilizers, which are produced among others by Grupa Azoty Zakłady Azotowe “PUŁAWY” S.A. We have also witnessed the process of land ownership concentration and the implementation of precision farming. All those elements bring tangible benefits.

Achievements

In 2013 the value of Polish agricultural goods which were exported reached 27 billion USD, or 12% more than the figure in 2012. Also, since the imports of foodstuffs were worth c. 19 billion USD, the sector produced a large surplus in foreign trade exchange balance. This year, export is expected to grow by 10%, but what remains uncertain is the impact of political tension between Poland and Russia (connected with the Ukrainian issue) on trade exchange. The Russian Federation is a major partner in food trade, with 6% of agricultural produce exported from Poland in 2013 going to Russia.