POLISH FARMS IN 1996-2006. ANALYSIS AND MEDIUM-TERM FORECAST
In 1996-2002 Polish farms continued adjustment processes inaugurated at the turn of 1989 together with the change of socio-economic system in Poland. A relatively large group of farms proved unable to cope in the new conditions. Some of these farms were liquidated, some limited their activities to the production of food for the needs of their owners exclusively, whereas others abandoned agricultural production altogether, with their owners looking for other sources of livelihood. On the other hand, there also were farms that continued to enlarge their acreage and modernise their production potential despite the difficult conditions of operation. In 2002, only 72% of all Polish farms were delivering their goods to the market. In comparison with 1996 the number o such farms diminished by nine percentage points. The most important reasons for this decline were insufficient managerial skills of agricultural producers and unfavourable natural conditions, mainly the poor quality of soil. The same factors will most probably continue to determine the condition of Polish farms after May 1, 2004, which may mean that only a part of the farms will be able to avail themselves of the budget resources offered within the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy. Thus, phenomena similar to those observable in 1996-2002 can be expected to occur in the Polish agriculture also in 2004-2006. The number of farms will be declining and their diversification will be progressing. A part of the farms (500 000-800 000) will certainly manage to find their place in the division of labour that will occur in the integrated Europe.
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