Two decades of rural areas transformation – the case of Poland
Rural areas in Poland are to a large extent dependent on both low-productive agriculture and agricultural policies. Poland as the only Central and Eastern European countries survived the period 1955- 1989 with 70% of agricultural land in private hands. Against expectations, it turned out to be not an asset in market-economy building, but – after 1992 - a burden in development (over two millions of farms, over 70% below 5 hectares, mostly subsistence farms). Due to outcomes of a set of policies (national and CAP) towards agriculture and rural areas, taking mostly forms of (hidden and open) social transfers, the changes in rural areas were limited to improvements of quality of life and slowly decreasing employment in agriculture. Agrarian structure, dominated by subsistence farms, remains stable (average farm size below 10 hectares, in some regions NUTS 2 below 5 hectares). As a result rural areas are still in need of deep restructuring and modernization of economic structure.