While under communist rule, the country of Poland’s went through a series of land reforms where their large estates were divided up across the country. Although this caused the majority of the farms throughout the country to account for merely 15 acres, about 2 million family farms employ 27.5% of the Poland workforce. While the small farm precedent is on the verge of growing, agriculture has not been sufficient enough to support families, hence has forced many to search for outside jobs.
Poland is one of the world’s leaders in potato, rye, apple, milk, and pork productions. In some regions the growing seasons are forced to be incredibly short due to the harsh climates; however, the growing seasons and climates vary throughout the country. Poland’s primary exports include grains, sugar, processed meats, and dairy products. Poland’s sugar industry is known as one of the oldest and most pre-vaiing industries in the world. Sadly, the country’s sugar commodity is struggling to stay competitive due to overseas producers pressuring Poland with stiff prices and quantity demands. In addition, to the decline in sugar production, the potato industry has faced a decline, as well. Improved livestock feeding habits combined with stiff competition from imported commodities and insufficient export markets have forced a general dissatisfaction among a large amount of farmers and producers throughout Poland. Because of all of these issues, it has been predicted that less than 700,000 will prevail through the next ten years. Large, commercial farms will force the small, family farms out of business due to the poor economy and increased expenses across the country’s agricultural industry. On the contrary, pork and dairy farmers have found a way to stay competitive in the country’s systems. The two productions have adapted smoothly to the transition from a system of fixed prices to that of a market economy. The people have also organized cooperatives and discovered new and innovative technologies that have enabled their businesses to stay afloat.
Still, many have referred to this day in age as the “golden age” when it comes to Polish farming. Since the country’s augmentation to the European Union in 2004, Polish farmers have been granted access to funds deriving from the Common Agricultural Policy. Aside from these benefits from the EU, the producers of Poland have benefited from increased domestic funding towards agriculture. They remain the world’s largest exporter of apples, and many believe this is the commodity that will continue to propel within the country. In fact, the Polish export of apples even surpassed China in 2003. While agriculture still needs reform, there are many opportunities that continue to present themselves to the agricultural people.