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Poland's agriculture: serious competitor or Europe's poorhouse? Survey results on farm performance in selected Polish voivodships and a comparison with German farms


  • Petrick, Martin


The aim of this paper is to present an analysis of farm-level data collected in a survey of 464 Polish farms in 2000. Performance indicators of farms in three Polish voivodships are compared with farm accountancy data from two German Länder. The results show that Polish farms were much less profitable than their German counterparts. The gap in income levels is much higher between persons employed in the agricultural sector than between average working persons in the two countries. Living standards within the Polish farm sector decline from the north-west to the south-east. The analysis suggests that the lower profitability of farms is a consequence of pronounced structural deficiencies due to a quite unfavourable workforce-land ratio on Polish farms and hardly a result of lower product prices. Serious technical and economic inefficiencies in the production process become visible in the data. There is a generally conservative attitude among farmers that prefers the continuation of farming over leaving the sector. Nevertheless, income from agriculture is to a substantial extent complemented by off-farm employment in the southern regions. Formal education of farm managers and access to finance appeared not to be crucial for their economic success in the past, although especially the most profitable farms in the north did not obtain as much credit as desired. Our overall conclusion is that Polish farms currently are in the midst of a regional, economic, and social differentiation process fuelled by huge imbalances in terms of income levels between rural and urban population groups. This process is however seriously slowed down or even halted by a number of effective institutional barriers, particularly with regard to rural labour markets. These barriers should be properly addressed by a formulation of future policies in order to avoid further social frictions in the course of the Polish EU accession.

Suggested Citation

  • Petrick, Martin, 2001. "Poland's agriculture: serious competitor or Europe's poorhouse? Survey results on farm performance in selected Polish voivodships and a comparison with German farms," IAMO Discussion Papers 37, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:iamodp:14894

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. T. A. Lloyd & A. J. Rayner, 1993. "Co-Integration Analysis And The Determinants Of Land Prices: Comment," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 149-156.
    2. Dolado, Juan J & Jenkinson, Tim & Sosvilla-Rivero, Simon, 1990. " Cointegration and Unit Roots," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 249-273.
    3. John C. Hause, 1977. "The Measurement of Concentrated Industrial Structure and the Size Distribution of Firms," NBER Chapters,in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 6, number 1, pages 73-107 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ajit Singh & Geoffrey Whittington, 1975. "The Size and Growth of Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 15-26.
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    Cited by:

    1. Biesold, Helga, 2004. "Auswirkungen des Transformationsprozesses auf die sozioökonomischen Funktionen ukrainischer Landwirtschaftsunternehmen," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Transition Economies, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), volume 29, number 93020.
    2. Petrick, Martin, 2001. "Documentation of the Poland farm survey 2000," IAMO Discussion Papers 36, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO).

    More about this item


    agriculture; farm performance; survey data; Poland; Germany; Landwirtschaft; einzelbetriebliche Kennzahlen; Befragungsdaten; Polen; Deutschland;

    JEL classification:

    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • P32 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Collectives; Communes; Agricultural Institutions


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