The image of a peasant in rubber boots, a trunk and with a pitchfork is a thing of the past. What is a Polish farmer like today? (INTERVIEW)

Luc Williams

What is a Polish farmer like today?

The image of a peasant in rubber boots, a trunk and with a pitchfork is a thing of the past. There is no such farmer in Poland anymore, and if you find one, it is absolutely marginal. The structure of rural residents has been changing for a long time, undergoing similar processes as before in cities. Rural areas are industrializing, the role of services is growing, people are getting richer, and farms are increasingly inhabited by people fleeing the cities – either buying such property or taking it over from their parents. Even the smallest, several-hectare family farms focused on production for their own use often use relatively modern equipment and production technology. The level of education of farmers has also increased significantly – today most of them have at least secondary education, and often higher education in agriculture. We have nothing to take away from ourselves: the Polish farmer today does not differ in terms of knowledge, machinery and production technology from his colleagues from Western Europe.

So can we say that Polish agriculture is already modern?

I estimate that approximately 300-400 thousand Polish farms, i.e. more than half, are now better equipped than in the entire EU. However, the big problem of our agriculture is the agrarian structure. According to the Central Statistical Office data, the average farm area is approximately 11 ha. This is very little compared to other countries. In such small farms, especially those focused on plant production, it is impossible to switch to agriculture 4.0, i.e. highly industrialized, mechanized and robotic. The unit costs would be much higher than the profit from production on such a small scale.



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